The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


Went to see Troilus & Cressida at the Globe last night.

Quick moan. People who talk at the theatre. Oh, drop dead. And, in particular, drop dead when you take mock offence when somebody asks you to be quiet. If you’re bored, leave. If you desire to discuss the play, it can wait, no, really, it can. And if you need someone to explain the play to you as you go along, you’re in the wrong theatre.

Oh, and if you’re a 'Globe Steward' – your job is to stop people from talking. Not to stand there watching the play. Not to chat away yourself.

I’m afraid the moan came first because the ceaseless moronic muttering was my main memory of the evening. But – happy place, happy place – what was the actual play like?

Well, it’s not one of Shakespeare’s best; the plot is both all over the place and frequently nowhere to be seen. The characters are thin and develop illogically, the beginning is dull and talky and the ending’s inconclusive and anticlimactic. And, no matter how clever Shakespeare was, these are not good things. He was not trying to write a bad play; his genius was that he succeeded without trying.

So any production is about trying to compensate for its shortcomings. I’d say, on balance, this production doesn’t. Matthew Kelly was superb as Pandarus, and most of the cast did a reasonable job – though a couple of them were so wooden I had flashbacks of my own turn in a Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’m not saying I could do better; I’m saying I could do equally badly. I’m not sure it’s the actors’ fault, I think the director may have led them down a bad path. But I couldn’t make out a single word Cassandra was saying.

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