Opening this week: An end to winter and rough weather

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Indy Lifestyle Online
SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE Theatre will be hoping the good weather of last week stays with us as it kicks off its second full season with two old favourites, As You Like It and The Merchant of Venice. In the former, the feeling of the great outdoors is developed as the groundling area is turned into the Forest of Arden. But don't worry: that doesn't mean less space for the spectators, just a bit of audience interaction.

The two plays feature an international cast, which includes actors from Italy, Switzerland, Jamaica and China, and, in The Merchant of Venice, the Globe's artistic director, Mark Rylance takes the role of Bassanio, the most genuine and successful of Portia's suitors. He is joined by Jack Shepherd, perhaps better known as television detective Wycliffe, and Clarence Smith (as Lorenzo, above). Shepherd also directs Thomas Dekker's The Honest Whore, one of two further comedies from Shakespeare's contemporaries (the other is Thomas Middleton's A Mad World, My Masters). And if you're not all comedied out, you can catch the Comedy Store Players for a night of stand-up on 31 July.

Continuing the international theme, the Globe follows up on the success of last year's Zulu Macbeth, Umabatha, with the second of its annual "Globe to Globe" weeks. Womad provides a warm-up for Teatro Buenda's Otra Tempestad ("the other Tempest") with their native salsa. It's only a pity we don't have the Globe all year round. (As You Like It: Tues to 20 Sept; Merchant of Venice: Wed to 19 Sept; Womad: 31 July; Otra Tempestad: 21- 26 July. Box Office: 0171 401 9919.)