King John (2015): Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton
PrKing John (2015)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Laurence Belcher (Arthur); Simon Coates (King Philip of France); Joseph Marcell (Pandulph); Mark Meadows (Hubert); Tanya Moodie (Constance); Ciaran Owens (Louis the Dauphin); Jo Stone-Fewings (King John); Alex Waldmann (Bastard).
This production was a co-production between Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the Royal and Derngate Theatres in Northampton. It toured before playing at the Globe from 1 - 27 June 2015.
"When Simon de Senlis, Earl of Northampton, returned from the crusades, he set about building the town's own Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a miniature version of the original Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Audiences for James Dacre's revival of King John...enter through the rotunda. The old order is dead: Richard the Lionheart lies on a stone sarcophagus, and monks offer up plainsong, the sound curling around the space which is filledwith smoke from incense and candles. It's all marvellously atmospheric and a treat for the senses. Dacre's production, which will travel to Salisbury Cathedral, and then Shakespeare's Globe in London later in the summer, uses the church setting to fine effect: the main action is played in the nave, with battles pitched in cruciform arrangements. Not everyone gets the best view, and those who do may still end up with cricked neck....Candlelight catches the golden threads in Jonathan Fensom's sumptuous costumes; the past lives around us in the thick stone walls and stained-glass windows." ~ Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, 30 April 2015
"As the audience enters the candlelit church via the great west door, cowled monks sing plainsong around a dead crusader laid out as though on a tomb. There is an immediate theatrical whack - we are plunged into the England of 1199 as it mourned Richard the Lionheart. And then comes the opening scene: a rousing Magnificat and a coronation of John....The action is carried out on a long, high traverse stage with the audience sitting in rearranged pews. With pungent candles, organ music and the smell of the church's stones, it is terrifically evocative." ~ Quentin Letts, Daily Mail, 17 April 2015
"Stone-Fewings' slippery John is ripely enjoyable and there are gutsy performances from Barbara Marten and Tanya Moodie as Eleanor and Constance, the two feuding royal mothers, in their way as armour-plated as the fighting men." ~ Sam Marlowe, The Times, 23 April 2015
"Characters are as clearly outlined as stained-glass images (especially, Barbara Marten's Eleanor and Giles Terera's Austria). As pageant and spectacle it's stunning, but Shakespeare's play offers a richer drama. Moments suggest the more that might be possible: Tanya Moodie's Constance lamenting John imprisoning her son..." ~ Clare Brennan, Observer, 3 May 2015
"John first allies himself with Philip of France (Simon Coates) only to be compromised by the Pope's excommunication threat by a coolly Machiavellian cardinal (Joseph Marcell)....With chanting, music, singing and incense, this is ritual theatre in its finest form. Hooded monks and even courtiers sing some of their lines accompanied by three multi-instrumentalists playing Orlando Gough's spine-tingling music....The cast is small, with many doubling up, and resoundingly effective. Rarely have I heard Shakespeare delivered with more clarity." ~ Neil Norman, Daily Express, 24 April 2015