Powerful Performances Illuminate The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare’s Globe ★★★★☆

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Powerful Performances Illuminate The Winter’s Tale The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare’s Globe 4
Photo: Mark Brenner

Famously, The Winter’s Tale depicts jealous fury that erupts from nowhere with terrible consequences over many years. Though we’re compelled to want to understand the motivation, this version, instead of giving easy answers, sets our question beautifully against the abyssal origin of all events, human or supernatural.

Photo: Mark Brenner

A special mention must go to Sirine Saba playing Paulina, the keeper of the flame and in whose memory the original crime never fades. How her expression of love for her lady cuts through Leontes is breathtaking. How she choreographs the final miracle as part court lady, part priestess, is moving and ultimately satisfying. Perdita (Norah Lopez-Holden) and Leontes (Will Keen) are also on top form in bringing the play to life with purpose in a staging that is simple and without fuss. Just felt a bit short-changed by the painting of a bear at the end of the first half.

Photo: Mark Brenner

After the intensity of the first half, the second is rich with ironic echoes and humour. As fate weaves its magic, the biggest laugh is the emergence of the shepherds in full aristocratic and puffed-up regalia. After all if a shepherd can be catapulted up the social ladder, why not bring the dead back to life? Though we may not understand why things happen, this Winter’s Tale shows that it’s how we respond to events that makes us human.

Photo: Mark Brenner

The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside, SE1 9DT. Tickets £5-£47, until 14 October 2018.

Last Updated 29 June 2018