Shakespeare’s Globe has got to be one of the most ambitious theatres in London. Not only did they launch a ‘Globe to Globe’ festival during the Olympic year of 2012, in which each Shakespeare play was performed at the theatre on London’s south bank in a different language, but they have started a project to tour Hamlet to every country in the world. ‘Globe to Globe Hamlet’, or ‘World Hamlet’, kicked off its official run at the Globe itself on Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, 23 April 2014, but before that it had a few preview performances at Middle Temple Hall. As the Globe performances were sold out by the time I went to book, I decided to go for one of the previews, partly because I wanted a peep into this historic building too.
Directed by Dominic Dromgoole, Globe to Globe Hamlet is being performed by a company of just twelve actors, each of whom plays more than one role, presumably to keep things fresh and ensure that there are prepared actors on hand in case of cast illness. On the night I saw the show, Ladi Emeruwa played Hamlet and gave a strong performance. The production plays up the humour in the show, and is a much more physical production than any I’ve seen. I imagine that this is so it can be understood by people round the world who do not speak English. While this was not my favourite ever production of the play, I am glad I saw it in order to wish it well on its journey; and I hope to catch it again when it returns to the Globe in two years’ time!