It’s All A Bit Shakespearian

Who doesn’t love a bit of Shakespeare? I know I do and one of my travel highlights was being able to go to Shakespeare’s Globe in London for a performance.

I remember when I was in high school (many, many years ago) reading Romeo & Juliet for English. I hated it. I don’t know if it was the story I hated or the fact that I had to study it for school, but I really did not enjoy it at all. To this day it’s my least favourite Shakespeare play.

Fast forward to 1996 and the release of Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet – everything changed, I was in love. I don’t even know how many times I’ve seen a version of Hamlet but it’s been quite a few – including my favourite performance by a local theatre company in Brisbane back in 2010 – I still rave about that one, and still have the original promotional card up on the wall at work. It is definitely my favourite play and I am willing to (and have done) travel to see it.

Six years on & still my  favourite Hamlet performance

Other than various Hamlet’s (including the very much anticipated Benedict Cumberbatch performance in London last year), I’ve also seen live performances of Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing and the best thing since sliced bread, a couple of Australian versions of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged).

One thing I have always wanted to do is go to a performance at Shakespeare’s Globe in London so back in 2014 I checked out what was on and Much Ado About Nothing was on during the time I was in London. At that stage, I hadn’t seen a live performance of that specific play – only the Kenneth Branagh/Emma Thompson movie, which I had loved. So I got my ticket for the seated area, it’s more expensive than the standing room only section but there was no way that I was going to stand for 3 hours – the standard length of a Shakespeare play.

Excited to see the play

The day I went to the play there was a tube strike so I managed to get myself from Bond Street Station by bus to St Paul’s Cathedral and then walked across the Millennium Bridge to The Globe. I had been to London previously but I hadn’t actually taken notice of The Globe on that trip but I was surprised to find it was so close to the Millennium Bridge.

Things To Know:

I had booked my tickets from Australia and when I turned up on the night, I just picked them up with no issue, from the Box Office.

The Globe Theatre is an outdoor space. Whilst the seated area is mostly covered, the standing area in front of the stage is not (and there are seriously no seats). It does cost more for a seat but you get a seat!

The view from my seat

The seats are hard benches – you don’t go to The Globe Theatre for the comfort factor, however you can rent cushions and blankets for the performance. I hired both (around £2 each from memory) but ended up not using the cushion.

During intermission, I chatted to one of the attendants who encouraged me to head down to the ground floor to ‘experience’ the standing area. I’m glad she did because it gave me a whole different perspective of the space.

Down with the riff raff during intermission

The Performance:

As with any theatre performance, you can’t take photos or video’s of the play – which is a little disappointing because you want to share the unique experience with others but  completely understandable.

The actors in Much Ado About Nothing were brilliant – it’s quite a funny play and there was a great chemistry between all the players. There was a bit of audience participation – as was the case in Shakespeare’s day and because it was a traditional interpretation, in that the costumes were as they would have been in the 1600’s, you really felt like you had been transported back in time.

Shakespeare’s Globe from the Millennium Bridge

Overall, it was a great night’s entertainment and I would definitely go back to The Globe again. Oh and don’t forget to check out the gift shop for all things Shakespeare.




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