Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Frontline at the Globe

Rain has been the dominant feature of the last few days of my life. As I have recently discovered, it rains a lot in the Lake District, the weather gods showing little respect for one’s wish to waft around the place in a long skirt with a sketch pad in hand. But that’s nothing compared to a Wednesday in London when one has tickets to the Globe. The clouds didn’t care. They churned and spat and un-stomached themselves all over the city, the sky an ominous, angry, unrelenting grey.

At least we were seated and relatively sheltered; the people in the yard were shivering in their transparent macs as the rain drummed on their heads. Some had even fashioned hats from carrier bags to keep off the water. But instead of making for a thoroughly miserable experience, the foul weather actually seemed to enhance the bond between performers and audience and seemed not unfitting for a play like Che Walker’s The Frontline. Walker has written the first play set in modern London to be staged at the Globe. They’ve dabbled in new writing before but always with a historical leaning (the other new play of the season, Liberty, is set during the French Revolution). I was sceptical as to whether such an experiment would work, but needn’t have been. The play takes place in a seedy, post-midnight – and in this case, rain-slick – urban world, Camden Town at 2am. It is a big, brash, sprawling thing, chaotic and unsubtle, but very enjoyable. It uses the space incredibly well, not by spilling out into the yard, like Lucy Bailey’s Titus did a couple of years back, but by packing the stage with so much life and activity that there was always something to look at wherever you were standing and could well succeed in its intention of appealing to those who would usually steer well clear of a place like the Globe. Anyway, I have blogged about it at greater length over here.

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