Opening night of Hamlet at the Pop-up Globe Theatre was a huge success judging by the thunderous clapping, three curtain calls for the actors and the enthusiasm of the crowds leaving the venue after watching a very enjoyable performance.
Situated at Crown Perth, The Pop-Up Globe, the first full-scale, temporary, working replica of Shakespeare’s second Globe Theatre and is a tremendous feat of engineering. First built in Auckland, New Zealand in 2015, its director describes it as a living time-machine enabling audiences to experience what theatre was like in the 17th century.
Hamlet is the first of four shows at the Globe and it is well worth watching. We saw ghosts, dancing, spectacular fight sequences and blood splattering scenes. The acting, especially by the main characters was brilliant and all the familiar lines including, ‘To thine own self be true’, ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’, and ‘Alas poor Yorick! I knew him’, were welcomed by the audience.
We were seated in the third and top tier of the pop-up and at times the dialogue was difficult to hear. If you are seeing Hamlet for the first time, it would be much easier if you already know the plot.
The best seats are probably in the expensive Middle Gallery facing the stage or in the cheap standing area right in front of the stage. However there are hazards in being so close to the actors – namely becoming the butt of jokes and being splattered with water or fake blood!
There is a lot to laugh about in this version of Shakespeare’s drama. Some of the humour was subtle but most, as with the appearances of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and of course the Gravedigger, was overt and very enjoyable.
A running gag with Polonius answering his mobile phone was distracting and I felt unnecessary, as were the jokes about Brexit. However as Shakespeare included some political 17th century humour in the original Hamlet, the new jokes were probably in keeping with the original spirit of the play!
On the technical side, the costumes, lighting and music were very well done. The music added just the right touch of tension or levity and the skirl of the bagpipes at the end completed the evening. Direction was excellent and the interaction with the audience is one of the highlights.
Choose your seating wisely. If you are in the Upper Gallery as we were, there are a lot of stairs to climb. Some seats have cushions, some are hard plastic and some are benches. For a very special occasion, you may wish to book the box seat which is right on the stage in the heart of the action.
The Pop-up Globe is open to the elements at the top so do take something warm to wear for later in the evening. All the seated areas are covered by the partial roof but the ‘Groundlings’ or standing area at the front of the stage is not, so if it rains you will get wet!
Running time for the show is two hours and thirty minutes, which includes a 15-minute interval. A few bars and food outlets are immediately outside the theatre as are the toilets. There is plenty of available and accessible parking.
Buy tickets from Ticketmaster. Prices range from $10 to $160.
Further shows are Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Measure for Measure. The Pop-up Globe season finishes on November 24. There are several matinee performances.
- Pop-up Globe Theatre Perth – Hamlet - October 11, 2019
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