Just around the corner from The Globe Theatre is another of the South Bank’s key historical theatre sites, The Rose Theatre. However, unlike the fully reconstructed Globe, The Rose remains an archaeological dig site for the most part, but it is also one of just a handful of theatres in London to have featured the works of William Shakespeare during his life. Now, with the production of Measure for Measure, you can once again watch one of Shakespeare’s plays at The Rose.
Set in Vienna, Measure for Measure begins with the Duke, Vincentio, announcing that he intends to leave the city in the charge of a strict official, Angelo, who instantly adheres to the letter of the law regarding pre-marriage relations. This leaves Claudio, a young nobleman who is married to Juliet in all but the strictest understanding of the law, with his neck on the block for his offense and brings about a succession of acts that unbalance the state of play in Vienna.
The small stage stands just above the archaeological dig site with a portion of it overstepping the lit boundary of the former theatre. Despite the slightly random entrance, the theatre space itself is intense with actors moving around within touching distance. There’s plenty of audience participation built into the performance with the funniest of these being a full hand plant into the face of a lucky audience member during one of Angelo’s all wracking tirades.
The bawdy comedy is skilfully acted by a great cast that includes a Matt Berry infused performance by director Brice Stratford as the puppeteering Duke, as well as Dan Van Garrett as the unscrupulous Angelo, a powerful portrayal of Isabella by Suzanne Marie and a wry delivery of Lucio by Thomas Vilorio.
With an intense, comedic flow to Measure for Measure at The Rose Theatre, it’s one of the most intelligent and yet accessible Shakespearian plays in performance at the moment. With contributions going to the ongoing work with the archaeological project for the theatre and ticket prices set at £12 with £10 concessions, it’s a production not to be missed.
For more information about bookings and tickets, visit, http://www.rosetheatre.org.uk/events/measure-for-measure/.
Measure for Measure, The Rose Theatre review: 4/5