February 21, 2017

Summer Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well

After several cancelled performances due to the wonderfully unpredictable Wellington weather Sundays performance was blisteringly hot. The audience fanned themselves with programs and several produced umbrellas. The cast had a harder time in suits, leather boots and stockings (not all at once) as they raced up and down the tiered seating.

I admit, it was hard to focus in the heat. The venue, Civic Square, is much more accessible than previous ones. Including to outsiders; it was quite amusing to watch people stop or wander towards the lift always (such interruptions were always well managed by cast).

All's Well That Ends Well focusses on Helena and her love for the son of her foster mother the Countess of Rousillon. Instead of enlisting the help of the Countess she hatches a scheme to make the Count marry her. He, of course, objects to this and the rest of the play is dedicated to bringing them together. There are subplots about the servants but they were hard to follow, not helped by the fact that at least two of them appeared to be jesters. I'm not sure if the fault of this lies with Shakespeare or the production. Though the ending is happy it's not entirely satisfactory, it feels a little ridiculous and rushed.

My favourite parts of this production were the crying bride, excellently played in the background; the use of the lift and balcony and; the Harley-Davidson - I'll leave you to guess what that was about.

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