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A review by Vanessa Bunn for EXTRA! EXTRA!




Measure for Measure



(from right to left) Dickon Tyrrell as Provost, Petra Massey as Mistress Overdone and Jack Joseph in Dominic Dromgoole's production of Measure for Measure

Photo by Marc Brenner




by William Shakespeare

Directed by Dominic Dromgoole

Designed by Jonathan Fensom

Composed by Claire van Kampen

Choreographed by Siân Williams


Shakespeare’s Globe


20 June - 17 October 2015



Vincentio (Dominic Rowan), Duke of Vienna, disheartened by the depravity which is rife in the city decides to depart indefinitely, leaving his seemingly austere and rigid deputy Angelo (Kurt Egyiawan) with the reins. Under his new regime all degeneracy is set to be stamped out, beginning with the demolition of brothels which takes place right in amongst the groundling audience members in the opening scenes. Mariah Gale is a delicate and endearing Isabella. As a chaste and devout novice nun her brother Claudio (Joel MacCormack) thinks her his best hope when he is arrested for fornication and getting a woman with child out of wedlock. Under the new laws laid down by Angelo, he is sentenced to death and believes his sister is the one best placed to plead his case.

Angelo, however, does not take long to crack under the spell of Isabella and unfortunately, a little too taken with her, demands more than her words if her brother is to be saved. The sexual politics batted about once his intentions are made clear motivate much of the dramatic tension in the play.
Dean Nolan takes on two superbly comic incarnations. As bumbling Elbow he gets the run-around from prostitutes and their customers when trying to stamp out licentiousness. And as imposing prisoner, Barnadine he makes his own rules while bearing more than a passing and very endearing resemblance to Hagrid from Harry Potter.

Music is provided by a particularly lively bunch of musicians who immerse themselves in the action while making sweet and enlivening sounds on instruments ranging from sackbut to santouri. Any vocal accompaniments are also accomplished as can be. Costumes are, as the Globe can be relied upon for, reflections of the characters in them. Isabella dons a plain blue smock while Mistress Overdone (Petra Massey) bears all the fussy indicators of her profession on her elaborate dress. After disguising himself as a simple friar to observe progress following his departure, Duke Vincentio makes a spectacular re-appearance in the most luxuriant and striking costume of the evening.

Garrulous and lovable Lucio (Brendan O’Hea) is decked out in a green plaid and ribboned outfit which provokes giggles before he utters a word. His accompanying camped-up performance is stand-out and his interactions with his fellow citizens as compelling as they are amusing. The scenes trundle along at pace, slowed only by the more solemn interactions between Angelo and Isabella. 

Dominic Dromgoole’s final contribution at the Globe is as full of energy, flair and directional excellence as any before it. This refreshingly boisterous, entertainment-packed production is a breath of fresh air. The audience on the hottest night of the year were as grateful for it as for the occasional breezes which swept all too briefly through the playhouse.


Mariah Gale as Isabella and Kurt Egyiawan as Angelo in in Dominic Dromgoole's production of Measure for Measure

Photo by Marc Brenner
Shakespeare’s Globe
New Globe Walk
Tickets from £5 to £43
Running time: 
approx. 3 hours including interval

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