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Shakespeare's Globe on Screen: All's Well That Ends Well - Review

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by Megan Edwards (subscribe)
I count myself lucky to be born in Australia's coffee capital of Melbourne and love to write about what's on in my home town.
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A sumptuous and witty performance
Does the thought of Shakespeare make you break out in a cold sweat, as you recall the arduous high school hours spent studying the famous playwright? Or do you love nothing better than to immerse yourself in the evocative language and pageantry of the English Renaissance?
Court musicians herald the arrival of the Countess.

Whatever your preconceptions, London's Globe Theatre production of the Shakespearean comedy All's Well That Ends Well is a revelation - for in spite of being viewed on a suburban movie screen, the simple cinematography and majestic Elizabethan backdrop create a thoroughly inclusive experience, enabling the audience to feel that they are in the Globe theatre.

A ribaldry and romantic tale entangled with threads of deception, corruption and seduction, the play centres upon Helena, a beautiful gentlewoman who falls in love with the obnoxious Count Bertram. Bertram's social standing and complete lack of interest preclude the marriage she so longs for, but fortunately for Helena, her virtuous nature and the assistance her guardian, the Countess of Rousillon - Bertram's mother - provide her with the means to go after what she wants, and the pair are married.
Parolles, a cowardly rogue who follows Bertram.

Naturally, it does not go to plan: the arrogant Count deems the terms of the marriage unsatisfactory, and seeks refuge in the company of his military buddies, leaving Helena to despair over the onerous task of trying to win her husband's favour.

Being an intelligent woman however, she strengthens her resolve and ultimately achieves her goal, thanks in no small part to the assistance of Diana, a widow's daughter whom Helena meets on her journey in search of Bertram - and his would-be lover, in Bertram's mind at least.
Bertram attempts to seduce Diana.

As in many of Shakespeare's plays, there are minor characters who add spark and colour to the story, including the scurrilous braggard Parolles, one of Betram's followers and Lavache, the Countess' bawdy servant.

All's Well That Ends Well is a lively tale brimming with all the humour, drama, decadent costumes and evocative prose that you would expect of a Shakespearean play - yet it will also resonate with modern day audiences, for its central themes are timeless.

Exhibiting an understated Art Deco elegance, the Palace Cinema in Balwyn is an intimate, comfortable setting in which to view this and other Shakespeare screenings appearing as part of the international Globe on Screen.
The Countess and her servant, Lavache.

*Megan Edwards attended the preview screening courtesy of Nixco & WeekendNotes.
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Why? To enjoy a classic tale that still holds true today
When: September 28-30 & October 3, 2012
Phone: 03 9817 1277
Where: The Palace Cinema, 233 Whitehorse Road Balwyn
Cost: Adults $27, Concession $24, Child $15
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