**** 4 stars

Pop-up Globe’s opening night audience at Measure for Measure were treated to a bawdy romp set in sleazy 17th century Vienna. Director Miles Gregory says he chooses plays for the programme “that seem to have a relevance to our contemporary society” and indeed the themes of Measure for Measure are certainly relevant in the 21st century.

Discouraged by the depravity of his people, the Duke announces his departure from Vienna leaving Angelo in charge. When Angelo’s puritanical tendencies are unleashed he introduces laws to clean up the city, for instance, Claudio is condemned to death for getting his fiancé, Juliet, pregnant outside of wedlock. However, the Duke returns disguised as Friar Lodowick, to observe those he trusts to see if they attempt to undermine him.

Claudio’s friend, Lucio, asks sister Isabella to meet with Angelo to plead for her brother’s life. When she visits Angelo we witness his hypocrisy as he asks Isabella to have sex with him. Out of the blue, Mariana is introduced to the plot to outwit Angelo into freeing Claudio.

Gregory and the team of actors do a marvellous job in unravelling the rather convoluted plot as they revel in the roles, particularly the doubling that occurs. Bryony Skillington is brilliant as the gawdy Mistress Overdone, then the Nun. Likewise, Jonathan Tynan-Moss proves his physical and vocal dexterity in playing the snooty Duke, then the Friar with his southern drawl.

Hugh Sexton is intense as Angelo the puritan, then hilarious when trying to stifle an erection after Isabella touches him. Sexton’s physical comedy is spot on. Adrian Hooke as Claudio and Amber Blease as Juliet work well together, and Summer Millett as Mariana shows a strong stage presence. Max Loban steals the show with an wonderfully bold, charming, and outrageous portrayal of Lucio.

Chantelle Gerrard and the wardrobe team have done a magnificent job across all four shows and deserve an award.

Pop-up Globe’s four shows are selling fast. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience Pop-up Globe. Twelfth Night, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Measure for Measure make up the repertoire for this limited season until 24th November 2019.

Tickets from $10 to $160. Available at https://www.ticketmaster.com.au/popupglobe

Average running time for each play is 2 hours 30 minutes (including a 15 minute interval).

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