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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent production of one of Shakespeare's oddest plays, 24 Jan 2013
By 
O. G. M. Morgan (Hants, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well (Michael Bertenshaw/ Sam Cox/ Sam Crane/ Naomi Cranston) [Globe on Screen] [DVD] [2012] [NTSC] (DVD)
I can't imagine that this production can readily be bettered. "All's Well That Ends Well" is a decidedly odd play. The sympathetic Helena (for some reason, listed almost at the bottom of the cast), beautifully played by Ellie Piercy, unaccountably loves the aristocratic Bertram, who must be one of the least lovable creatures in all drama. Nevertheless, Sam Crane, as Bertram, somehow makes Bertram not entirely obnoxious. James Garnon is funny as Paroles. Sam Cox is an imposing King of France. When Shakespeare lived, England and France were friendly, as often as not. The diction of all the performers is exemplary. The set expands across the base of the theatre and the production makes extensive use of the range of movement which that affords. I can't fault this. Acting, recording and filming are all superb (I bet they're glad it wasn't raining), but Ellie Piercy deserves the highest praise. It is a difficult role, but she performs magnificently.

Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All Hail the Globe, 5 Nov 2012
This review is from: Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well (Michael Bertenshaw/ Sam Cox/ Sam Crane/ Naomi Cranston) [Globe on Screen] [DVD] [2012] [NTSC] (DVD)
Finally, in middle-age, Shakespeare is coming alive for me. I was one of millions who was turned off the bard by tedious lessons at school; and not exactly converted by "over-clever" productions where the action was re-located Weimar Germany or 1930's Chicago or wherever. The Globe's productions strip away the guff and give us the real thing, in Elizabethan dress, in an Elizabethan theatre - and they're a revelation.

I caught this on the big screen at my local cinema (by chance - but there does seem to be the odd limited season of Globe on Screen releases - look out for them if getting to the Globe itself is inconvenient for you). Not one of Will's best-known or popular plays, but I really don't see why it shouldn't be. Here it was energetically and movingly staged - and with the comedy given its full value (why didn't my old teachers TELL me that Shakespeare was funny?). You just have to love Parolles.

All's Well is often viewed as a Problem Play. I won't delve into the plot, but the "hero's" sudden volte-face in the last scene from indifference to love has struck many as unconvincing over the years. For a while I thought that this production had found a clever solution with the aid of a piece of green cloth (anyone else spot this?), but it was missing from the climactic scene. Either I saw something that wasn't intended, or they didn't follow their own idea to its logical conclusion.

But this doesn't matter. This is a joyous production, and if you don't see it and walk away feeling uplifted, then you probably have issues.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his oddest plays, but done to a turn by the Globe, 16 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well (Michael Bertenshaw/ Sam Cox/ Sam Crane/ Naomi Cranston) [Globe on Screen] [DVD] [2012] [NTSC] (DVD)
A story about a woman who uses her connections to get a man she really likes to marry her against his will, then when he won't sleep with her (the crazy fool) pretends to be someone else in the dark - someone that he does want to sleep with - so that she can get pregnant with his child and swap rings with him. Sorry if I've ruined it, but that seriously is the plot.

Now, I love Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare more than most things, but this is a tough play to reason with. It's been beating my brain up for days - modern society is rightly outraged when a woman is forced into marriage, but when it's a man, is it any less traumatic and reprehensible? This play suggests that, perhaps, it is. Perhaps it is the duty of any sensible man to love back where he is loved, since all women are, apparently, the same in the dark. They're not, though, are they? Or perhaps, as suggested by Bertram's constant fondling of Helena's handkerchief in this production, he really does love her all along - he's just too much of a dunce to admit it, or to avoid asking widow's daughters for sex when he's on the road. He doesn't, though, does he?

Still, the glorious Globe can do no wrong, and I'm so glad that they stage all of Shakespeare's work, not just the big moneyspinners. Most importantly, the strutting, all-mouth-no-trousers Parolles is played by James Garnon, who has the best, most expressive face and voice in all creation and whom I would like to marry one day. And if he says he doesn't want to, Shakespeare has furnished me with a foolproof plan...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Production of Girl-Power Play, 30 Sep 2014
This review is from: Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well (Michael Bertenshaw/ Sam Cox/ Sam Crane/ Naomi Cranston) [Globe on Screen] [DVD] [2012] [NTSC] (DVD)
I love "All's Well That Ends Well", but this is actually the first time I've ever seen a production. It's not often done, and that's a great shame.

This is the story of a poor doctor's daughter - Helena - who is forced to grow up in an aristocratic house when she becomes an orphan, falls in love with the young lord of the house - Bertram - who won't think of her because she's without fortune and below him socially (marriage was more of a business transaction than a love-match in those days), and comes up with a brilliant plan. She will use her medical skills to cure the king of his fatal disease, and in reward, he will give her as husband any bachelor in his court. Unfortunately, a horrified Bertram then runs away....

In this plain, stripped-back Elizabethan staging, the actors handle this thoughtful and intelligent comedy very well. All the women are played by very strong actresses, and for once it seems like this is a matriarchal society where the women are running the show. Poor Bertram seems to be getting ganged up on at times, and his grief and frustration at a forced marriage are very real and sincere and sympathetic - and in the 21st century, forced marriages are still occurring in Britain, and they do involve boys as well as girls. I thought the transition when his chasing of the widow's daughter leads to him accidentally consummating his marriage with his wife instead was handled smoothly, and suggested that it wasn't Helena herself that he was objecting to - he did grow up with her and knows her well - it was more being commanded into doing it. But four hundred years ago, a king could command you into doing much worse. Free will as we know it didn't exist. Elizabethan audiences probably thought he was getting off lightly.

Good role-reversal, and plenty of wit. Very intelligent production. I'm so glad I have finally seen it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Top Quality, 14 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well (Michael Bertenshaw/ Sam Cox/ Sam Crane/ Naomi Cranston) [Globe on Screen] [DVD] [2012] [NTSC] (DVD)
If you want to see Shakespeare and can't get to the theatre, then this series of Plays filmed at the Globe are fantastic . Great value for money . Unlike most film/movies version where big chunks of dialog tend to be missing these are the play as it should be seen Brilliant .Td
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well (Michael Bertenshaw/ Sam Cox/ Sam Crane/ Naomi Cranston) [Globe on Screen] [DVD] [2012] [NTSC] (DVD)
What a treat!. Great performances. If you have been to the Globe you will love this. If you haven't been to the Globe it will show you what you are missing. You will also love it. Go!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply excellent, 24 Dec 2012
By 
I. A. Wright "Ian Wright" (Didcot, Oxon, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well (Michael Bertenshaw/ Sam Cox/ Sam Crane/ Naomi Cranston) [Globe on Screen] [DVD] [2012] [NTSC] (DVD)
The Globe and a real audience greatly enhance this excellent production of All's Well. It's a great experience that one can enjoy time and again. I recommend it for everyone, but especially for those who arenstudying Shakespeare.
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