All’s Well That Ends Well (RSC at the Theatre Royal Newcastle)

9th November 2013

After last weekend’s slow performance of ‘As You Like It’ I was a little apprehensive about seeing ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’. I’m not a massive fan of the comedies anyway (they are all have the same plot, and there’s so many ‘A’s’ swirling around that they get easily confused- ‘As You Like It’ with ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ and ‘Much Ado About Nothing’). However I was swiftly proven wrong. Immediately proven wrong in fact; as the first scene blasted onto the stage with well used music and lighting.

As the play went on, I couldn’t help myself continuing to compare how good ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ was, with last weekend’s tedium. For one thing in this adaptation the jokes were genuinely funny. In contrast to ‘As You Like It’ the actors seemed much more aware of what they were actually saying. They brought the script out of itself, and made it laugh out loud funny for the modern audience. There was no clumsily placed Rasta. The jokes instead seemed like a natural part of the play.

Meanwhile the set design was gorgeous. There were glass cases that were eerily reminiscent of Damien Hirst’s pickled animals; and a clever design with mechanisms that opened, closed and moved sections of the stage in and out. Projected patterns of arterial-like trees and army netting changed to fit the scene. Music was also well used, allowing for energised scene changes.

It restored my faith in the RSC.

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