Friday, March 3, 2017

As You Like It

Way, way, back, many centuries ago, a chap called William Shakespeare, a member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, built a theatre for the exhibition of his plays. It was on the south bank of the Thames, and was called The Globe. It burnt down in 1613 during a performance of Henry VIII, but was rebuilt the following year. It was closed by the Puritans in 1642, and pulled down a couple of years later.

In 1997, a replica Globe was built on the South Bank of the Thames, close to its original location. And in 2016, a pop-up Globe was built in Auckland for the first time. This was repeated in 2017, and we decided to pay it a visit.

Normally, visiting Auckland is a fairly mundane experience. However, we had failed to anticipate the other attraction that was on offer on the particular weekend we had chosen: The Boss was in town, performing at Mt Smart stadium. This meant that accommodation was in short supply, and air fares had also obeyed the rules of supply and demand and gone through the roof. We gritted our teeth and booked the flights and one of the few remaining hotel rooms at Rydges.

We’d arrived early in the morning, so to pass the time of day we decided to visit the suburb of Ponsonby, which is just down the road from the CBD. We boarded an Inner Link bus until we reached Ponsonby Road, and then walked along from there. We stopped for lunch at Adam Arnold’s CafĂ© Bar, where we lunched on bread, halloumi, and cured salmon. The waiter said to us “sounds like you’re from my part of the world”, to which we replied “What, Wellington?” which flummoxed him somewhat…especially as he’d addressed us in a Yorkshire accent. So we explained, and all was well in the world again.

We set out for the venue, which has been built at Ellerslie race course, by train. It’s a five minute walk from the station. When we got there, we checked out the hospitality options available and sat down with a bread and cheese platter, washed down with a glass of The King’s Bastard (chardonnay) and The King’s Favour (sauvignon blanc).

We were seated in the middle level of the theatre. All the seats give a good view, as they are around the edge of the theatre. There is also standing room on the ground floor, which was presumably cheaper, and also involved the hazard of being accosted by the actors who used it as part of the stage at times. We were there to see As You Like It, which is a comedy based on a woman dressing up as a man, and fooling him. In this respect, it’s very similar to all the other Shakespeare comedies. As they’d taken the Shakespeareanism of the production to heart, the leading woman, Rosalind, was in fact played by a man.

The production was very well done; the comedy, for once, was actually funny – largely helped by a lot of physical comedy, particularly from Adam, Orlando’s servant. Also there was a very funny flautist, who started playing whenever anyone started getting amorous.

It was all jolly good fun and went on long into the night. we finally rolled out at around 11:00pm and caught the first available train back to the city centre.

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