What happens when one man’s decision defines the future?
What would he do if he had his time again?
‘I will show you another past. And another future. Then, King, what will you do this time?’
From the crusades of Richard the Lionheart to the bloody conflicts of our own century, Holy Warriors is a sweeping fantasia of holy war, fraught diplomacy and revenge in the struggle for Jerusalem and the Holy Lands.
Put an actor I like and admire in a London theatre production and you can almost guarantee that I’ll be in the audience. Alexander Siddig in Holy Warriors at the Shakespeare’s Globe was no exception and it was the first time I’ve broken my no more than one theatre performance each month rule. Well come on, it is the globe, you can’t really say no can you?
I went into the show completely unaware of what it was about or what to expect, I hadn’t even remembered to print of my tickets beforehand so I had to pop in to work to do that on my way there. (On as side note there were people actually in the office working! On a Sunday! Insanity.) To be honest, The Globe is such a damn beautiful building that it didn’t really matter what show I was seeing, all that really mattered was that I was there. It’s quite an iconic image not only to London but also in the world of literature and while it may seem cliché to say it you can in fact feel the history of the building around you when you enter.
As for the show itself it was a bit more miss than hit for me. It started off quite like a Shakespeare history and I found myself quite enjoying the first half of the performance even if I wasn’t clued up on the correct history of it all. However for the second half, the play leaps into the future in quite large steps towards our present examining the consequences of the events from the first half before giving the King the chance to see a different future. It was at this point that I started to get lost and found my concentration waning. The theatre is open to the elements be prepared for a few distractions, namely aeroplanes, leaves and pigeons! It can also be quite difficult to hear some of the actors over the general background noise or if they don’t project their voices quite loud enough. The show also has quite a large ensemble but even so several of the cast play multiple parts which definitely added to my confusion. I’m still not exactly certain what political point the play was trying to make but it was worth seeing it for Siddig and his beardy goodness who was by far one of the more charismatic actors on the stage.
A couple of tips for those going to see any performance at The Globe; if you go for the restricted view tickets (which I did) be aware that the restriction is a wooden pillar about a foot square and not the easiest thing to crane your neck around from the second row backwards. I was lucky in that there was no one sitting to the seat next to me which had a perfectly clear view so I simply shimmied over once the play had started. I also totally recommend paying the extra £1 for cushion hire as it makes a huge difference to the old wooden seating. I can only imagine the back pain those who stood for the whole three hours felt! (Although the yard tickets are a bargain at only £5 each)
Also please don’t take photos before or during the performance, The Globe very kindly allow photography after the show is finished and the stage is cleared of actors and it’s really frustrating to see people spoiling it for others.