Is the lack of a gimmick itself a gimmick? After a motorcycle-riding, movie-star Romeo on Broadway this fall and a video-projection Athenian forest in Brooklyn last week, Shakespeare’s Globe has arrived at the Belasco Theatre with a radically unradical concept: The British company performs William Shakespeare’s plays as they were performed in William Shakespeare’s time. And so Twelfth Night and Richard III opened in repertory Sunday night, on a wood-paneled Elizabethan stage, with the actors in period costume, fifes and drums and horns providing period music, and all the roles played, as they were back then, by men. Mark Rylance—often posited as the greatest living English-language stage actor—is the star; he sports a gown in Twelfth Night as Olivia and a malformed hand in Richard III as the scheming, murderous king. He is excellent, and so is the rest of the cast.
Alas, the same can be said for only one of the plays. Read More