If you live in Auckland, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about, over even been to, the iconic Pop-Up Globe Theatre situated in Ellerslie just a minute off the Southern Motorway. For the past 4 years of tenure, it’s been a firm favourite with gold card holders and millennial friend groups alike, with the allure of getting some bevvy’s on a summer evening and soaking up the Sun and Shakespeare a strong pull.
All good things must come to an end and after 650,000+ attendances and 1200+ performances; the Pop-Up Globe’s 2019/2020 season will be it’s last in NZ. Keen to not miss my all time classic rom-com Shakespearean play, and to make the most “family time” on a warm weekend, I took my 5 year old son to a matinee viewing of “Much Ado About Nothing”.
Now I hear you, ‘Isn’t Shakespeare a bit heavy for kids?’ The answer is a resounding NO – at least not this adaptation. My kid may have not understood the story line and intricacies of young love, deceit, or the value of virginity before marriage (okay – that bit hasn’t aged that well), but he was certainly glued to his seat and cracking up at the comedic relief offered by the two dingbat Police officers. Adding to the delightful farce was the adding of bananas for gun (the kid approved), and a real life Pomeranian doggy (the kid really approved).
Their crazy antics helped balanced the tone of the play, punctuating the weighty text with some much appreciated physical comedy (falling through the stage multiple times and abseiling down the rigging to run through the crowds stood out). The crowd interaction didn’t end there, there was plenty of spraying with water bottles, chocolate fish giving, and jesting with ‘the Groundlings’. Topped off with some singing and dancing and in the eyes of a five year old it’s even better than Paw Patrol!
For those looking for a bit more depth to their theatre, this rendition of “Much Ado” leaves no stone un-turned. It injects the poetic verses of one Shakespeare’s most performed plays, with a laid-back South Pacific feel. I loved this interpretation. It was fresh, contemporary, inventive, and gave those new to Shakespeare a route into his work.
This production, which is a revival of the critically-acclaimed 2017 Auckland run, was originally directed by Miriama McDowell, but is presented here with a new cast, having performed to sell-out crowds for 17 weeks running at Pop-up Globe Melbourne in 2017/18. The costumes and props were crafted with an exquisite eye to detail, and the setting – the Anthony Harper Pop-Up Globe Theatre, is a perfect reproduction of the much-lauded theatre in which Shakespeares plays were first performed.
The three-storey, 16-sided venue and can fit whopping 700 people at full capacity, and watching Shakespeare performed there has the effect of transporting you to another time. Pro tip, for those new to the Globe, I’d recommend purchasing one of the Groundling tickets – they’re completely immersive and in the thick of the action right up against the to the stage (and also happen to be where they give out the chocolate fish!)
The Summer Farewell Season is on sale now. Audiences are encouraged to book well ahead of time as the season is expected to sell out. No extensions are possible. Book at www.popupglobe.co.nz.
What’s on: The Summer Farewell Season: Much Ado About Nothing
Run-time: About 2 and a half hours + 10 minute intermission
Pricing: Starts from $10 for Groundings (standing, uncovered), to $413 for a Premium Box
Who should go: Treat your parents, show off your classy side to that Bumble date, have a family outing.
When to go: Now though until March 2020. The shows have their own schedules, so do check the booking calendar out.
Pro Tip: Arrive early and enjoy some pizzas and cocktails in the garden. Don’t forget your sunscreen!