Preview: Timon Of Athens, Shakespeare's Globe, London

Fall prey to a man caged in by greed
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The Independent Culture

Lucy Bailey returns to Shakespeare's Globe this year to direct the rarely performed Shakespeare play Timon of Athens, with music by Django Bates and choreography by Maxine Doyle, who also worked on The Masque of the Red Death.

The space will be used in a highly innovative way, with a cage being built 20ft above the audience, from which part of the action will take place and performers will be plunged towards the stage and Pit. "My concept of Timon is to see this man-eating world in terms of carrion and their prey," says Bailey. "I was very influenced by Hitchcock's The Birds in this and I wanted to create this very frightening world of vultures. I also wanted to create a whole world of acting above the audience that would interrelate with them."

This parallels her production of Titus Andronicus two years ago, which saw the audience in the Pit taking part in the action as they were forced to flee wooden towers being pushed through them at terrifying speed. From Bailey's perspective, she says: "The magic of the Globe is this gift of an audience that you're trying to interact with in a 3D way."

Staging Timon of Athens is another brave move from the artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe, Dominic Dromgoole, but if the success of Titus Andronicus is anything to go by then it is a gamble that is likely to pay off.

It is a play whose message holds particular modern resonance; criticising the way that money was managed in James I's England, it echoes modern worries concerning the credit crunch. Bailey calls the play "shockingly contemporary" in the issues it tackles, and "accurate in terms of how people operate, and very bleak". The play looks at a society corrupted by the pursuit of wealth, leaving no room for the values denoting a true sense of humanity. Timon (Simon Paisley Day) and his servant Flavius (Patrick Godfrey) are forced to come to terms with this reality. "It's funny, over the top and glorious, yet what it's examining is vicious and savage."



26 July to 3 October (020-7401 9919)

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