at Shakespeare’s Globe, Sunday 13th May 2012
The time has come. After a handful of sub-par productions presented as part of the World Shakespeare Festival, the Globe to Globe season has struck shit with the National Theatre of Albania’s take on Henry VI Part 2. I can’t remember the last time I saw such a shoddy, lazy production of a Shakespeare play.
If there was an interpretation, it was nigh-on impossible to spot. The extent of Adonis Filipi’s direction was a decision to put the opposing sides in red and blue and shove in a number of under-rehearsed movement pieces, which involved out-of-time actors performing steps either up and down or round and round (the séance is particularly laughable). Oh, and Filipi also throws in some scooters at the beginning for good measure. Don’t ask me why.
If audience members come out of this production thinking it was a play about people standing and shouting at one another, they’d be forgiven; I don’t know whether or not the National Theatre of Albania has an amateur-quota to fill, but it certainly feels that way. The actors look bored when not speaking, gazing into space or looking at the audience. Indrit Cobani’s Henry is weak and lifeless with no clout, and Yllka Mujo’s performance as Eleanor is completely overdone. There is some redemption in the form of Ermira Hysaj’s stoic Margaret, though her relationship with Suffolk (a passable Dritan Boriçi) is barely explored.
Lay this on top of Anila Zajmi Katanolli’s showy costumes, Armand Broshka’s quietly filmic but ill-fitting music and scene changes which wouldn’t look out of place in a school play, and you can imagine the results. I didn’t know it was possible, but Filipi has managed to create a production one of Shakespeare’s most political plays which says almost nothing.