I had, completely and honestly, just forgotten how good Shakespeare is. Watching Julius Caesar was just incredible. Hearing the classic lines I recognised in context and just listening to the marvellous prose was an astounding delight, that endured despite the fairly heavy rain that fell on our heads throughout the performance.
The acting was largely good, in a traditional vein. Usually I would find this a little dull, but it was so well executed that it usually gripped me. I didn’t know the story before I watched it, too, which was exciting as though I expected death I didn’t know who it would be. Brutus has since joined my list of literary heroes.
I would have only two complaints for Shakespeare. Firstly, his characters seem far too keen to fall upon their swords. Without even trying to talk it out, or see if they could perhaps be mistaken. (Clue. They are.) Really, guys, sort yourselves out. Secondly, despite creating a fairly interesting female character in Brutus’ wife Portia, she appears for only one scene, then dies to nobody’s particularly lasting agony. Shame.
The Globe is magnificent. From the authentic setting to the over-enthusiastic ushers chasing down anyone who dares touch their mobile phone it is thrilling to be in the middle of the action, and to think that in Tudor times, it would have been just like this. Or as near as it could be. Plus – a standing place in the pit costs you just £6, which is ridiculously good. And if you’re like me, you can join in the shouting in the crowd scenes.
There was also a beautiful moment at the very end: as the actors each raised one hand to the heavens in the final sequence the rain responded by suddenly pouring down heavily, to a laugh from the audience.
I’m trying to go to as many plays there as I can fit in this year – and this has made me much more excited!