tue 01/12/2020

All's Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare's Globe | reviews, news & interviews

All's Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare's Globe

All's Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare's Globe

James Garnon's Parolles steals the show in what surprises as a well-plotted comedy

James Garnon's comic sidekick Parolles (right) steals the show from juve lead Sam Crane (centre) and Michael Bertenshaw's apoplectic Lafeu (left)All images by Ellie Kurttz

Trust the "wooden O" to set the Shakespearean record straighter than usual. In John Dove's production, this is no problem play but a bright comedy where the immaculate plotting proves more admirable than its questionable characters. Its low cuddleability quotient will never make All's Well Everyman's favourite; the heroine has Rosalind's or Viola's resourcefulness and none of their charm as she pursues a callow, snobbish young man whom you can't at first blame for feeling cornered but who ends up an irredeemable cad. The figure of fun despised by everyone else in the play, the mouthy Parolles, is the only real candidate for our affections; so it was a foregone conclusion that the Globe actor with the best track record in energetic comedy, James Garnon, would steal the show.

Trust the "wooden O" to set the Shakespearean record straighter than usual. In John Dove's production, this is no problem play but a bright comedy where the immaculate plotting proves more admirable than its questionable characters. Its low cuddleability quotient will never make All's Well Everyman's favourite; the heroine has Rosalind's or Viola's resourcefulness and none of their charm as she pursues a callow, snobbish young man whom you can't at first blame for feeling cornered but who ends up an irredeemable cad. The figure of fun despised by everyone else in the play, the mouthy Parolles, is the only real candidate for our affections; so it was a foregone conclusion that the Globe actor with the best track record in energetic comedy, James Garnon, would steal the show.

The best really is last, as the entire company works light-hearted theatrical magic on the long finale of reconciliation

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