All’s well that ends well
On Sunday I had my trip to the National Theatre at Southbank to see a production of All’s well that ends well. While it was a good show, I didn’t come away quite so buoyed up as my visit to the Globe but I think it had less to do with the cast and more to do with the story. As you like it is one of the pastoral comedies and has a very light touch but All’s well that ends well is one of Shakespeare’s tragicomedies and as such, some parts of it had a slightly darker tone.
There were some quite funny moments, many of them featuring the character of Parolles but it is definitely one of the Shakespearean stories that makes me wonder why on earth the lead female character would want the lead male character. Helena goes after Bertram in spite of his disdain for her, his abandonment of her, his wooing of another and generally dodgy attitude towards women. I have similar issues with Hero and Claudio in Much ado about nothing. He treats her with contempt for sins she had not committed and yet she still marries him. I don’t get it.
Apart from that, it was a very enjoyable story and the real highlights were the set design and costumes. And that probably makes me sound like a geek but the set was fantastic and the costumes ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous and every historical era in between. I don’t have pictures of either of these things because you can’t take photos inside the theatre but here are some pics outside showing Britain’s continuing love affair with looming concrete edifices.