An outstanding production that deservedly received an extended standing ovation. Liam Brennan and Gerald Kyd are superb, smoothing some of the abrupt transitions caused by Marlowe's collapsing of the historical timeline, and the supporting cast is, almost without exception, remarkable. A note to Globe neophytes: This was my first time at a matinee, and the sun was a constant and unwelcome companion. Do not sit in the first few rows of the galleries on a nice day without plenty of water and sunscreen. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (18.104.22.168)
25 Sep 03
After much experimentation, the Globe is now proving conclusively that the Elizabethans knew more about how to put on plays that grip, entertain and make you think than we do today and the best way to stage plays at the Globe is to do as they did. Firstly last year's Twelfth Night, then this season's Richard II and now Edward II. All three are all male 'original practices' productions. This particular play was better than it has ever been staged before (well, the productions I have seen anyway)- absolutely thrilling. They've been more explicit than usual about the relationship between Edward and Gaveston. The use of two intervals was totally vindicated by improving the flow and coherence of the play. The costumes, again, were lovely. The performances all round were great, but we must single out Liam Brennan and Gerard Kyd; the chemistry between them was positively electric. The best place to see Shakespeare and his contemporaries - bar none ! - USER: Whatsonstage.com (22.214.171.124)
15 Sep 03
The rapid banishment, recall and banishment make this play seem rather vapid and light (there was a much longer timescale in historical fact). Liam Brennan is excellent, however, as the stupid king who foists his inept favourites on court and country. In the latter scenes our sympathies are returned very much to the king as Mortimer becomes madly cruel.
The man playing Isabella was too large, though he made a very good and sympathetic shot at a difficult part. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (126.96.36.199)
01 Sep 03
Shakespeare’s Globe is going from strength to strength, this summer. Following on from the strong ’Richard 11’ earlier this year, the Men’s Company present this vibrant, colourful, moving, passionate and striking production of one of England's questionably most inept kings.
Edward II has become King of a divided England, fought over by feudal barons. The spoilt, wilful and infatuated king (Liam Brennan) lends his devotion and liberally bestows his powers and titles to the ambitious social climber Piers Gaveston (Gerald Kyd) and then to the equally horrendously ambitious Spencers (John McEnery and Michael Brown), and their sidekick, Baldock (William Osborne)
Overthrown by Mortimer (a tour de force in meglomania from Justin Shevlin), Brennan's king is humilated, tortured and finally assassinated gruesomely by the clinical, cold and unkind Lightbourne (a class act in scene-stealing by John McEnery) who in turn is murdered by Maltravers (Justin Avoth) and Gurney (a superbly mad Albie Woodington, who also doubles as the downright scary Guy of Warwick).
Patrick Brennan leads the literally revolting nobles as the ambitious and o'er-weening Duke of Lancaster, whilst Richard Glaves charms as Gaveston's wife, the Lady Margaret de Clare and then as the new, young and initially terrified yet appropriately maturing Edward III.
Chu Omambala is a striking figure - at first apparently too butch as Queen Isabelle (the ‘She Wolf of France’), in thrall to Mortimer, s/he becomes this impressive yet terrifingly Boudicca-like harridan, desperate to plead anything to maintain her hold over the young king, (despite her original love for and anguish at the rejection by Edward in favour of Gaveston).
Gerald Kyd plays a lively and coquettish Gaveston, as an ambitious dandy. Kyd’s Gaveston is wildly in love with Edward but not blind to the advantages of his position as the King’s putative ‘consort’. His fall is dramatic and distressing – stabbed, and almost lynched on stage, by the Barons, you are almost relieved his murder isn’t actually shown!
Liam Brennan is not yet a famous name in the UK. But after this season, he ought to be! After three seasons at the Globe, firstly as a powerfully moving ‘Macduff’, leading to a touching ‘Orsino’ in last year's triumphant Twelfth night, and this season as the introspective and saturnine ‘Bolingbroke’, he has come into his own as a powerful, classical and mature actor in the UK - the RSC and NT will surely be knocking on his door soon!
Infatuated and foolish, blind to the earls’ and dukes' demands and concerns, his Edward grows into a grief-stricken yet uncomprehending martyr - his grief at the death of Gaveston is raw and rough, his desire for vengence understandable but clouded with rage. Brennan’s Edward cannot understand why the barons demand the banishment of "he that loves me more than all the world". His hope to cling to the crown at least ‘till nightfall’ is understandable, considering the further horrors he undergoes - the enforced shaving in the puddle water and the entreaties to the implacable Lightbourne. The night I saw this, not all the groundlings had realised his fate - there were gasps of horror at the shaving scene but when Lightbourne appears spitting on the red-hot poker to check its temperature, the fear and horror at the murder in the yard was palpable
All praise should go to this able vibrant cast for their efforts and particularly to the director, Timothy Walker, who has brought the play - with its strong and visual statements of homosexuality v politics - boldly and confidently up to date.
If you haven't got a ticket for this, go get one now, before they understandably sell out! If you have seen it, go spread the word. This production represents the best of what the Globe stands for - the music and jigs, the costumes, the atmosphere and it deserves the magnificent roar of approbation from the audience at the end of the play. Despite the horrors that have gone before in the play itself, (and despite any economic downturns, lack of tourists, whatever) Edward II proves that, this summer, the most exciting acting space in London is the Globe! Tessa
- USER: Whatsonstage.com (188.8.131.52)
13 Aug 03
Admired,Amazed,Enjoyed so much,and I just love it!!!
Liam Brennan is mesmerising! so did Gerald Kyd and Michael Brown.
Every year,I'm addicted by The Globe's "Perfect night" production. -Nami - USER: Whatsonstage.com (184.108.40.206)
13 Aug 03
I and a number of others think it is tremendous and Liam Brennan in particular is outstanding.
- USER: Whatsonstage.com (220.127.116.11)
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