Lighthouse Cinema: ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, Petone, Hutt Valley

26/09/2012 - 01/10/2012

Lighthouse Cinema: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Petone, Hutt Valley

11/10/2012 - 14/10/2012

Lighthouse Cinema: DOCTOR FAUSTUS, Petone, Hutt Valley

25/10/2012 - 29/10/2012

Production Details

Shakespeare’s Globe in partnership with Arts Alliance Media announces its 2012 cinema season – at various cinemas (see below) from Sept 26 – 29 Oct.  

Shakespeare’s Globe in partnership with Arts Alliance Media will release three of its 2011 theatre productions to cinemas in New Zealand, Australia, the USA and the UK. The Globe on Screen season will launch globally from September 26 and will include All’s Well That Ends Well, with screenings to commence in New Zealand from September 26, Much Ado About Nothing, from October 10, and Doctor Faustus, from October 24. 

New Zealand cinemas are:

Auckland: Bridgeway, Northcote. Monterey, Howick. Hoyts Takapuna, Hibiscus Coast and Botany Downs.

Tauranga: Rialto.

Christchurch: Hoyts Northlands.

Nelson: State Theatre.

Havelock North & Palmerston North: Cinema Gold.

Kapiti Coast: Downtown Coastlands and Lighthouse Pauatahanui.

Wellington: Penthouse, Paramount, Lighthouse Petone & Cuba.

Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe said “With the advent of new technology it is now possible to see and hear theatrical productions in the cinema with a wonderful sharpness and clarity.  We are delighted that these productions will be finding new audiences, who can experience Globe shows as if they were in the building.”  

Olivier Award-winning actress Janie Dee (Me & Orson Welles) is a delight as the Countess of Roussillon in All’s Well That Ends Well, directed by John Dove as an uplifting romantic comedy. The orphaned heroine Helena (Ellie Piercey) will stop at nothing to win the proud young aristocrat Bertram (Sam Crane) who is forced to marry her but instantly abandons her. Sumptuous costumes, outstanding original music, and a fine ensemble of actors captured the spirit of Shakespeare’s complex Chekhovian comedy. 

Shakespeare’s wittiest of comedies, Much Ado About Nothing, pairs Olivier Award-winning actress Eve Best (The King’s Speech, Nurse Jackie, Shackleton, The Shadow Line) and Charles Edwards (An Ideal Husband, Downton Abbey), as the sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick, and also features Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) as Leonato. Directed by Jeremy Herrin, this fearless display of Shakespeare’s wit and wisdom, in which words become weapons, comes to sparkling life. 

Completing the Globe’s cinema season is a spectacular production of Christopher Marlowe’s tragedy Doctor Faustus, directed by Matthew Dunster. The legendary story of a man who sells his soul to the devil for power and pleasure is given a bright and brilliant interpretation with puppets, pyrotechnics and magic tricks. Arthur Darvill, whose screen credits include the movie Pelican Blood but is best known as Doctor Who’s sidekick in the cult British TV classic, plays Mephistopheles. Paul Hilton, whose big screen credits include Wuthering Heights and Klimt with John Malkovich, takes the title role.  

Globe on Screen harnesses the magic that draws people to the home of Shakespeare year after year. The three titles in this limited season give cinema audiences around the world a thrilling, up-close experience of the Globe from the comfort of their seat.  For more information about the cinema season, visit the official website

For the trailer YouTube link click here 

Sample seasons to be reviewed:

Lighthouse Cinema, Petone: ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
27 Sept, 11am; 30 Sept, 11am; 1 Oct, 7.30pm

Lighthouse Cinema, Petone: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING 
11 Oct, 11am; 14 Oct, 6.45pm

Lighthouse Cinema, Petone: DOCTOR FAUSTUS
25 Oct, 11am; 28 Oct, 11am; 29 Oct, 7.30pm

Lighthouse Cinema, Petone: DOCTOR FAUSTUS
25 Oct, 11am; 28 Oct, 11am; 29 Oct, 7.30pm

Production values score over tame leads

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 26th Oct 2012

Marlowe’s Dr Faustus is a glorious muddle of a play. Like Waiting for Godot there is no plot and no conflict, but unlike Beckett’s bleak masterpiece it is laden with some very unfunny low comedy scenes that one assumes Marlowe never wrote. The Rose Theatre manager and the script’s owner, Philip Henslowe, is probably to blame when he paid William Birde and Samuel Rowly to write “adicyones” for the sum of ₤4 in 1604, nine years after Marlowe’s death.

The problem lies with the fact that there are two versions of the play: one quarto was printed in 1604 and an entirely new and extended version was printed in 1616. While there are clearly moments and speeches which have been written by a great if uneven dramatic poet, there is also an awful lot of dross in both versions.

It would appear that the 2011 Globe Theatre version mainly used the 1604 Quarto and one has to sit through some pretty gruesome comedy as a result. In the first half there is a long sequence in which Faustus has Mephistopheles make him invisible so he can torment the Pope in the ‘troublesome banquet’ scene. Then there’s the second half with the lengthy scene with the German Emperor and the ‘horning’ of Benvolio which is followed by Benvolio seeking revenge for his humiliation by beheading Faustus (a cleverly performed piece of stage magic), which is followed by a tedious sequence about a horse-courser buying a horse from the learned doctor.

The two leading actors who play Faustus and Mehphistophles give tame performances. Paul Hinton’s Faustus never conveys a sense of an overwhelming intellectual curiosity about the universe or the thrill and the childish enjoyment of the supernatural powers that Arthur Darvill’s ordinary-man-in-the-street Mephistopheles provides him with once he has signed away in his own blood his soul to the Devil.

Where the production scores is in its Hieronymus Bosch-like costumes (8 foot tall goat-men; two huge dragons on the backs of which Faustus and Mephistopheles fly to study the universe as well as take them across Europe to upset the Pope in Rome) and some robust performances in such scenes as the presentation of the Seven Deadly Sins and in the choreography of the scholars who attend on Faustus, and the conjuring tricks dotted throughout the evening. 

The conjuring of Helen of Troy is intriguingly done: first she appears as a tall Grecian puppet that separates to reveal a beautiful, statuesque young woman (Sarita Piotrowski) who retains her dignity and her mystery even though Faustus seems to be unawed by her presence, which, I suppose, is not surprising because he has, with the aid of Mephistopheles, already conjured up Alexander the Great.

In the three plays of this season (All’s Well That Ends Well and Much Ado About Nothing are the other two) it has struck me that the staging of the action always takes place on the stage; the balcony or upper stage is only used for musicians. The inner stage seems to be used purely for the main exits and entrances and in Doctor Faustus it comes into its own when the horrors of Hell are let loose on the earth as Faustus is taken into the fiery furnace.

Faust: Tell me, where is the place that men call hell?

Meph: Under the heavens.

Faust: Ay, so are all things else; but whereabouts?

Meph: Within the bowels of these elements,

           Where we are tortured and remain forever.

           Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed

           In one self place, for where we are is hell

           And where hell is there must we forever be.


Faust: Come, I think hell’s a fable.

Meph: Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind.   

But what was exciting to see in this Globe Theatre production was an Elizabethan play that wasn’t by Shakespeare, from whom we probably need a rest for a while, and the realisation that the greatest of all dramatic writers wasn’t the only genius of his day.


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Made special by communal bonding

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 12th Oct 2012

Jeremy Herrin’s lively version of Much Ado is by far the most enjoyable of all the Globe on Screen films that I have seen. It’s funny, inventive, and surprisingly moving in the dramatic scenes and it was clearly a winner with the Globe audience, many of whom must have been seeing it for the first time judging by their reactions.

The company received a rapturous reception at the end despite the audience getting a good drenching from London’s rain.

Much Ado About Nothing is, of course, about many things including love, honour, fear of sexual commitment, and the ‘merry war’ between two people who hide their true feelings in witty banter. The play moves from high to low comedy and back with a couple of side tracks towards tragedy that the Globe audience accepted with a tense silence once they realised that Beatrice’s demand that Benedick kill Claudio was not a joke, having roared when Benedick says that ‘this looks not like a nuptial’ after the groom has accused the bride, Hero, of lechery.

Shakespeare’s setting of Messina has been given a suggestion of Morocco in the period costumes and music. The Globe stage has been dressed with a very tall rambling orange tree (Benedict needs a long ladder to hide in the greenery) and a fretted screen covering the inner stage, while Dogberry and the Watch wear fezzes. The Governor of Messina, Leonato and his daughter Hero, are played by black actors, while his niece, Beatrice, is played by a white actor.

The setting, unlike the famous RSC production set in India during the Raj, doesn’t seem to add to or illuminate in any particular way Shakespeare’s play, though it does seem rather odd for a Christian wedding to be talking place in a supposedly Muslim country.

But it doesn’t really matter because the actors carry the day with some winning performances, with Philip Cumbus making, for once, the rather dull part of Claudio actually funny in his embarrassment and excitement in declaring his love for Hero.

Eve Best and Charles Edwards give zesty, delightful if not very subtle performances as Beatrice and Benedick. I’m not sure the Globe lends itself to subtlety; it seems to demand, like the old barns of Drury Lane or Wellington’s St James, large and very loudly projected performances and with an enthusiastic audience at one’s feet it must be hard not to play, to use an anachronism, to the gallery. Nevertheless I laughed at Benedick’s stutter as he tried to get out the word ‘husband’ and some of the unnecessary but often hilarious mugging that the lovers indulge in.

Oddly, the humour in Dogberry’s scenes doesn’t get the laughs it should; possibly Paul Hunter tries too hard and he uses the music hall shtick of repeating quirky physical mannerisms too often. However, the production is full of amusing moments: Dogberry and Verges playing one-upmanship games with the sizes of their lanterns; a maid having problems with a tray of glasses during the party scene when Don Pedro arrives in Messina; and Beatrice hearing that Benedick loves her from behind a sheet hanging on a washing line and Benedick up a ladder when he hears that Beatrice loves him (a scene not dissimilar to one when Tim Balme played Benedick at Downstage some years ago.)

For all its inconsistencies and the odd strange performance (a clearly unstable, wildly staring Don John and a shouting Don Pedro) it is held together by two strong central performances, a lively production and an audience entering into the comedy and drama of a play written 400 years ago with great pleasure, thereby making evident even to a cinema audience that it is communal bonding that makes theatre special.


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Comedy mixes awkwardly with emotional undercurrents

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 28th Sep 2012

Anyone wanting a bright and breezy, straightforward, energetic version of one of Shakespeare’s lesser works should go and see Globe on Screen’s All’s Well That Ends Well, which was presented at The Globe in 2011.  

Unlike the filmed National Theatre production of All’s Well, the Globe’s screen version of this tricky play gets down to the business of presenting the play without – thank heavens – a gushing interview with the director. Nor does it go back stage during the interval to chat with the designer.

We get taken straight away into a packed Globe as the minor actors come onto the stage and wander about chatting to some of the groundlings before breaking into a rousing introductory song and dance. The first thing to catch one’s eye is that there is some unobtrusive painted scenery and then, as the leading actors appear, that their ornate Elizabethan costumes provide a riot of gorgeous colours. And they seem to wear different costumes every time they appear – not usual in these penny-pinching times!

One of the problems with filming in The Globe is that the audience tends to be a distraction. I can remember a poor filmed version of Romeo and Juliet – a production only saved from being a complete bore by Rawiri Paratene’s Friar Laurence – in which the audience was far more interesting to watch than the actors on stage. In All’s Well the cameras are, by and large, kept on the actors.

However, The Globe is a large space and the actors have to project and one or two of them project with considerable force, particularly Sam Cox’s King of France. He overplays his hand by looking far too robust and bad tempered to be considered ill in his first appearance, so much so that Helena’s medical ministrations seem to be totally superfluous. All his speeches are spoken VERY LOUDLY throughout the play and without much attention to the fact that he is speaking in verse.

In past centuries the play was considered a comic vehicle for the actor who played the cowardly, “tainted fellow” Parolles. In more recent times the play has been seen with its heroine, Helena, as an early feminist or a Shavian New Woman, surviving and succeeding in a masculine world on her wits. It has been played as a melodrama, a farce, a romance and in the 2009 National Theatre version, directed by Marianne Elliott, it was treated as a magical fairy tale which, for me, made perfect sense of it.

At the Globe the comedy is stressed and the more sombre colourings of the play are lost. But the part of the young Bertram, who spurns the King’s order for him to marry Helena – who having cured the king of a fistula is granted anything she wants and what she wants is Bertram – has been overhauled.

Usually he appears as a rather unpleasant, snobbish young man. In Sam Crane’s performance, Bertram is clearly attracted to Helena but too insecure in himself and his feelings to commit. Right at the beginning he takes a token from her, a handkerchief, and throughout the play he plays nervously with it, and when he abruptly rushes off to war leaving her behind, he kisses her with surprising passion. So when at the end Helena miraculously appears from the dead his sudden declaration – “I’ll love her dearly, ever ever dearly” – is sincere and believable.

Helena and the Dowager Countess Roussillion, Bertam’s mother, are complex women. Is Helena a virtuous young woman obsessed by her love for Bertram or a designing minx out for what she can get and prepared to jump into Bertram’s bed, taking the place of his latest girl friend Diana without his being aware of the switch? And what about the Countess, who appears to be a nice old lady but also stoops to bawdy talk with her apparently well-hung servant? 

Ellie Piercy gives a striking, strong performance of the determined Helena, while Janie Dee’s Countess is younger than most Countesses and gives a lovely nuanced performance of a doting mother who has to cope with a wayward son and a loving would-be daughter-in-law. 

It’s an intriguing play that mixes its comedy awkwardly with its emotional undercurrents and this production highlights this awkwardness so that the final scene – similar to the endings of The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest – of family, of reconciliation, forgiveness and new beginnings, is somehow diminished.

But an appropriately joyous emotional surge is provided when the cast sing and dance a jubilant finale.


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