Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
Scholars Online Educational Resources


All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale

Available versions

1972: Charlton Heston

1974: John Scoffield

1981: Jonathan Miller

1984: Lawrence Carra

2015: Jonathan Munby

2017: Robin Lough


Macbeth, 1954: George Schaefer (extras)

2015: Shakespeare Uncovered, Season 2, Episode 5

Antony and Cleopatra
2015: Jonathan Munby

This is the Globe Theatre version of Antony and Cleopatra.

Despite having two characters in its name, Antony and Cleopatra is ultimately dominated by one remarkable role. While it certainly helps to have a strong Antony, and there are a number of other challenging parts in the play, the tone of a performance is ultimately defined by its Cleopatra. Her pitch and temper dominates the shape and the pacing of every scene she’s in, and her presence hangs even over the ones from which she is absent. It’s a part in which a good actress can find a thousand different nuances, and no two performances are likely to be quite the same. Therein lies some of the enchantment of watching a variety of Shakespeare performances, and for that reason I hesitate to identify a single favorite. If I had to do so, however, this would be it. Best’s rendition of the role is, to my way of thinking, remarkable not for its emotional extremes or gestural extravagance, but for putting Cleopatra’s humanity center stage. Those who have watched the evolution of the Globe series may recall that Best played Beatrice in their Much Ado About Nothing (2012), and was also the director of the extraordinarily good 2014 Macbeth, similarly marked by an uncanny warmth in a play not known for it. She has also had a varied film career in some noteworthy films, including The King’s Speech. As Cleopatra, she is not nearly as imperious and dominating as many another, but something extraordinary emerges from her vulnerability, and her final scenes are uncommonly affecting.

Cleopatra has long been seen as an ambiguous character, a capricious emotional powder-keg on one hand, and a strong and even principled woman on the other. The bivalence goes back at least as far as the Ode Horace wrote on the occasion of her death (Odes I.37: Nunc est bibendum), which begins by reviling Cleopatra as a fatale monstrum, and ends on a note of awed admiration. That of course is not something that should define our approach to the Shakespeare play, but it is worth bearing in mind. Shakespeare might well have known the Horace.

The other roles here are more than adequately covered: indeed, there are none that struck a genuinely false note. Antony is capricious and emotionally volatile in his own way too, and I personally find him harder to admire, but the characterization is pulled off well.

For those interested in setting and other variables of staging, this is conservatively staged within the constraints of the Globe’s physical space, though there are some imaginative touches that are visually quite striking, down to the last scene with the extended golden wings; costumes are Elizabethan, and don’t, in general aspire to imitate Roman or Egyptian garb. There is some sparing music as background, as well as incidental dances and songs that often adorn these productions. I realize that those are part of the performance history the Globe series is trying to recreate, but I usually find the music and dance stylings jarring; they are certainly not historically anything relevant to the period. They are, however, mostly at the edges of the production, and can be safely ignored.

Harder to ignore, this production has (as do most of the Globe productions) more than its real share of stage silliness, played for broad laughs, and some bawdy innuendo; in the worst cases these can destroy a production, or at least lower everything to a farcically homogeneous mass. This production never allows that to eclipse the main business of the play. I can genuinely recommend this for students at most levels, and those coming to the play for the first time.

Agrippa: Daniel Rabin

Alexas: Kammy Darweish

Antony: Clive Wood

Canidius: Ignatius Antony

Charmian: Sirine Saba

Cleopatra: Eve Best

Dolabella: Philip Correia

Enobarbus: Phil Daniels

Eros: Peter Bankolé

Iras: Rosie Hilal

Lepidus: James Hayes

Maecenas: Ignatius Anthony

Mardian: Obioma Ugoala

Menas: Sean Jackson

Menecrates: Kammy Darweish

Messenger: Peter Bankolé

Octavia: Rosie Hilal

Octavius Caesar: Jolyon Coy

Pompey: Philip Correia

Proculeius: Sean Jackson

Scarus: Obioma Ugoala

Schoolmaster: James Hayes

Snake Man: James Hayes

Soothsayer: Jonathan Bonnici

Thidias: Jonathan Bonnici

Ventidius: Paul Hamilton