BWW Review: MEASURE FOR MEASURE at Pop-up Globe Auckland
As soon as I set foot within the space of the Pop-up Globe my heart radiates with joy! I should know that it's going to happen as I've been many times before but just like love's first kiss, I'm enamoured.
How truly fortunate we are to have this wonderful facility; to be part of Shakespeare's performances in the recreated space for which they were originally written.
'Measure for Measure' was delivered literally in 'delight by delight'. The deliciously decadent costumes balanced the eye with the deliciously decadent words delivered to the ear.
Performed in stunning Jacobean period dress, the Nottingham Company are actors from around the world. The highly-experienced cast brings together some of the stars from previous seasons with internationally recognised new ensemble members - the mix is perfect and the entertainment sublime.
From the dubious carry on within Mistress Overdone's (fabulously played by our own Amanda Billing) house of ill-repute to the musical inmates of the city jail, this production will take you on an unexpected journey of tangent and mirth whilst delivering some great moral questions at your feet...
At the heart of this great 'problem play' is one man's appalling abuse of power. In his mayoral office, a powerful man and a young nun meet in private. She wants to save her brother's life. He is happy to help - but at what price? In a city where everyone seems to have a vice, the wheels of justice move slowly but grind very finely indeed.
How apt being here just after the celebrations of International Women's Day! All feminists need to see this and those who are not, also need to see this. It is bawdy so leave the under 16's at home.
Although billed a comedy ( and it is certainly very funny), there is a great commentary about how women used their subservient role to get what they wanted and when the nun forgives the Mayor at the end (spoiler alert!) women come out on the moral high ground - clever clever clever!
Shakespeare's problem plays often involve conflict between corruption and purity and the irony of the struggle of those who rise by sin and those who fall by virtue. This play definitely highlights human nature's capacity for leniency and understanding rather than punitive and judgemental. Send the lawmakers along to see this too, says I!
How wonderful that Isabella (exquisitely played by Rebecca Rogers) took on the wheels of corruption by use of the vices of corruption itself. She with the help of Mariana (Summer Millet), cleverly deceived the manipulator, whilst maintaining justice and both women achieving what they want. They also treat those who wronged them with compassion and forgiveness.
This play also illustrates a focus on understanding and leniency rather than punitive measures.
All of the above is so hugely relevant in today's world.
Add into the mix disguises and mockery which are truly a reflection of our human nature on so many different levels. And just to stir things up further we had the clever wonderfully presented Lucio played by Max Loban who added his own special concoction of quirky spices to this production. Just when we think he is righteous and good he likes to taunt us and prove us wrong.
The themes within Shakespeare's work are well represented and beautifully executed to bring Shakespeare to the masses; presenting, including and illuminating the great heart and cleverness of his works.
Congratulations Pop-up Globe Artistic Director, Miles Gregory and associate directors Eddie Bijl and Brigid Costello for directing this rollicking great tale and making it frivolously fanciful for all.
Measure for Measure
80 Ascot Avenue, Ellerslie Racecourse, in Auckland,
Until 31st March