This is an unusual post, not about any current production,  and far too long.   And the latest current reviews are available below, AMADEUS at the top and well worth it.    But there has been  controversy over the departure of Emma Rice from Shakespeare’s Globe,  and much  disproportionate nonsense being talked about how it is a “Brexit” and a victory for a stuffy, boring old-guard, coldly commercial tourist Shakespeare over the vibrant new Emma Rice approach.    And it just isn’t true.  Over the last fifteen years and more I have had extraordinary, magical, and wholly involving evenings at the Globe,  gainsaying any ridiculous idea that there was no “involvement” with groundlings or innovative approaches.   So I am just republishing here a collection of my favourite Globe reviews.

Here they are.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING  – dir. Jeremy Herrin
David Tennant had better watch his back: for a time it seemed extreme bad luck for the poor Globe that the Dr Who stars – Tennant and Tate – are going to open within days up West with this same play. Could there really be room for two Ados in London? Two sets of quibbling, chop-logic Shakespearian lovers?
But the proof’s in the players: and late on a damp and chilly night the groundlings erupted and spontaneous cheers and whistles echoed round the balconies when this Benedick finally took Beatrice in his arms. The pair – not TV-famous but thoroughly foxy, seasoned stage actors – absolutely triumph, in one of the trickiest romances in the canon. ////
Charles Edwards, lately a glorious Aguecheek in Peter Hall’s Twelfth Night – is an impertinently quiffed city-boy of a Benedick, matched by Eve Best as a striding, larky, impatient bluestocking Beatrice. And judging by the reaction, they are absolutely what is wanted by the “Friends” and Bridget Jones generation. They quarrel briskly, confide in the groundlings, dart humiliatingly behind laundry or (in his case) get trapped up an orange-tree and suffer a perilous descent by rope. Better than that, they are subtle enough to evoke beautifully the way that the couple’s attraction is hampered both by lack of self-knowledge and by an overdeveloped sense of the absurdity of romantic love. It takes adversity – the near-tragedy of her cousin Hero’s betrayal and shaming – to shake both into the solid value of love and loyalty. They give us that progress with wit and honesty. When Edwards says “I do love nothing in the world as well as you – is that not strange?” his sudden straightness tugs the heart, as it should.////
It is not, for all its fame, an easy play. Tynan called it an over-valued piece which should have “gurgled down the plughole of history”. Maybe it was a series of mannered proscenium productions that jaded him: certainly the populist freedom of the Globe gives it new life. It falls sharply into two halves: light comedy at first, real tragic echoes later when Don John’s plan shames the bride Hero at the altar. On this light framework Shakespeare hangs recurring preoccupations: jealousy, credulity, moral horror, betrayal, friendship turned to feuding. Hero’s “death” and resurrection – accompanied by a chilling harmonized dirge – is followed by a strange, romping masked tormenting of Claudio as the trick is revealed, and it jerks us from fright to laughter, just as it should. ////
The whole is set behind some fishponds in which Beatrice paddles barefoot at the start, a nice symptom of her reckless informality, and directed with plenty of life by Jeremy Herrin. I could wish for a firm hand to cut down the showoff tics of Paul Hunter’s Dogberry – for God’s sake, surely the malapropisms are enough – but Adrian Hood’s vast lugubrious Verges is very funny, and David Nellist is a memorably daft and dignified Constable Seacoal, in a moustache I very much hope is not his own.

HENRY IV PARTS I & 2    dir. Dominic Dromgoole
Butts of sack and blaring sackbuts, fluttering pennants, a glimpsed panto cow, a pack of mummers in the yard signifying the folk-origins of theatre with foam-rubber phalluses: very Globe. But beyond the flummery, Dominic Dromgoole offers an impassioned take on the story of a troubled usurper, a rebel age, a dissolute prince and his Falstaff. Together or separately, these productions do justice to the great and ironic spirit which dared build two epic military-history plays around a tubby boozer and a tavern.////
Jamie Parker’s Hal is not unrelated to his role in The History Boys, though posher: emerging trouserless through a trapdoor with a trollop, this is every Etonian blood who sows his wild oats, but knows really that he will be a Guards officer and marry a good girl with an alice-band. His capacity to turn up his nose at his mates is evident even at his wildest in Part I. Parker rolls about, plays the tin whistle, spars with Falstaff and the ruby-nosed Bardolph (Paul Rider, like all the clowns a sharp comedian). Yet even in Part I Hal prefigures his inevitable reform; and in Part 2 his seriousness is no surprise when he accepts the hollow crown and loftily forgives those who used to arrest him. ////
Falstaff is the marvel, though. Roger Allam has a rare convincing confidence in the stout knight’s wit (caught by a vicious downpour, he digressed momentarily into Lear’s ‘blow winds, and crack your cheeks” for an extra cheer from the sodden groundlings). But there’s no empty mugging or self-indulgence. He catches every nuance: Sir John is a boozer and a thief, but with edges of depressive self-disgust which make his final crushing rejection in Part 2 unbearable. He is a knight amid lowlifes, who thinks that he could “purge, and live cleanly as a nobleman”. His battle cowardice springs from having more imagination than the hot young bloods. When he asks whether honour “can take away the grief of a wound?” Allam’s voice drops in real horror. Disgraceful, beguiling, human: a Falstaff to treasure.////
The second play gives us more women, notably a bravely disgusting Doll Tearsheet (Jade Williams) and broad comedy played at length – William Gaunt’s falsetto Shallow quavers for England. It also gives Oliver Cotton as Henry IV a moving deathbed. But Falstaff – overreaching, misjudging, spiralling out of sense and self-control to gather his lurching crew and waylay the icy young king in public – ah, that’s the tragedy that brings the tears.

In this play the end justifies the means: deceit is the right thing to do. It is never traditionally a favourite, though: for all the comic potential (which director John Dove has richly mined) the story feels morally, medievally, odd. Low-born Helena adores her mistress’ son Bertram,; on curing the King of France’s illness and being given her idol as a prize , he refuses to consummate the union but heads off to war and to seduce a local virgin. Helena cuts a deal with his victim, replaces her in the dark bedroom and proves it at court with significant rings. Bertram, confronted with the evidence, accepts her.
Defined often as a “problem play” , it certainly offers some, quite apart from the unusually tricky text . How do you make Bertram convincing in his U-turn, and attractive enough to deserve Helena? But mainly it is – like Merry Wives – a tale in which the women win. They triumph through cunning, virtue, and a striding spirit which embraces disguise, cross-country travel, defiance and bedroom swops.////
The younger women – Ellie Piercy’s skinny, determined Helena and Naomi Cranston’s Diane – drive the action , but at its core is an older one: the Countess of Roussillon, described by Shaw as “the most beautiful old woman’s part ever written”. Janie Dee is not old, but a Countess with a soldier son need only be forty, and there is always in Dee’s appeal something regal and maternal: in sweeping velvet she runs her court with briskly playful authority, and when her young go amiss her anxiety and grief really touch your heart.

The men contribute fine laddish play in their fancy-dress soldiering (this is the kind of war you conduct in a white satin cloak) . James Garnon as the pompous, petulant proto-Falstaff Parolles inhabits his extreme costumes with glee, and his final hoodwinking and baiting is wonderfully done. Other grand comedy moments belong to Michael Bertenshaw’s courtier Lafeu, and no opportunity for a lark with the groundlings is missed.

As for Bertram’s motivation, it is resolved by Sam Crane playing him as a flop-haired public schoolboy, miffed at being married off by the King. He looks so Etonian that it is as if a fledgling George Osborne had been summarily ordered by Tory party headquarters to marry Carol Thatcher. His reconciliation is sweet, too: he sinks to his knees in relief that the affronted King (Sam Cox) isnt’ going to top him. It’s all taken speedily and for fun; and it is.

DOCTOR FAUSTUS   dir. Matthew Dunster
Just as Faustus gave Mephistopheles the contract signed in blood, a bird flew beneath the canopy with an agitated swoop and flutter like an escaping soul. The Globe, pledged more than any theatre to the earthy uncontrollable reality of life – rain, helicopters, pigeons – deserves these moments just as it deserves its tolerant cheerful groundlings determined to have a good night out for a fiver.////
They, in return, are owed a bit of Renaissance spectacle: giant furry stilt-walking demons with goat-skull heads, skeletal puppet dragons with flapping wings for Faustus and his devil mate to ride on. And there must be conjuring and clowning, and ideally someone should be drenched (take a bow, Nigel Cooke as the horse-courser, doubling as both the Pope and Lucifer). Compulsory too is trapdoor action: the seven deadly sins emerge from one (Michael Camp very acrobatic as Covetousness) and get tipped down another. Jonathan Cullen as Gluttony in a fat-suit bravely does it head first, before nipping off to be covered in blood and scars as Bruno. Sixteen cast play forty-five parts, with exuberant costume changes.////
I list the larky effects for contrast, because in essence Matthew Dunster’s production is classically straightforward, respectful of Marlowe’s text and theology. Paul Hilton as Faustus and Arthur Darvill as Mephistopheles are elegant and intelligent verse speakers: Hilton gives the learned doctor a sneering donnish arrogance from the start, which makes credible the central irony of the play – that Faustus, given supernatural power and knowledge , fritters it away on japes and excursions and loses his soul for nothing. Darvill – part bored estate-agent, part resentful lifer – discards the benign persona beloved of his Dr Who fans (he’s Rory), to shoot out occasional flashes of diabolic rage from a carapace of ironclad self-control.////
Marlowe steers closer to miracle plays and mummers than Shakespeare ever did, so there are brawls between Faustus’ good and bad angels, and an oddly choreographed chorus of black-clad scholars in dark glasses like a mafia ballet . One gang of spirits turns up mystifyingly dressed for a century later, as if they had lost their way to School for Scandal and fallen in some whitewash. But none of the staging – effective and otherwise – distracts entirely from the central horror of Faustus’ decline. His cries of terror echo in the growing darkness, and the final vision of hell – chaotic tormentors brandishing skeletal puppet victims – is as alarming as it should be. In the 1630s, legend says, real devils materialized during a performance, causing the lead actor Alleyn to turn to charitable works and found Dulwich College. The music, by the way, is terrific: Genevieve Wilkins leads a band aloft wearing sinister beaked bird masks.

MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR Shakespeare’s Globe SE1    dir. Christopher Luscombe
There’s a loving warmth about the Globe on a good evening, for all the draught and drizzle. Nobody wants to go home: not the groundlings footsore in the pit, nor we perched on high hard benches. As Christopher Luscombe’s entrancingly funny, sweet-hearted production ends there is a communal sense that if more clapping and whooping can draw the players back and coax another ironic bow from Falstaff, it’s worth trying.////
This is a revival of the 1998 production , with the same principals and Nigel Hess’ merry, delicate musical score, back for a month before touring the indoor theatres of US and UK. It looks beautiful: the unfussy set evokes tavern, home and forest, and the costumes balance elegance with hilarity. William Belchambers’ outfit as Slender – virulent green tights, a hyper-ruff and an orange mini-cloak – confirms him as a hopeless nelly even before his first flinch and mince. Falstaff’s purple wooing-tights are a model of artful exaggeration. Yet sometimes the scene takes on a Breughel aspect, and the final outbreak of ghoul and fairy disguises has a wild, primitive straw-mask forest savagery: the other side of old England.////
A witty programme-note draws parallels with Fawlty Towers (funny foreigners, misunderstanding, vanity, hampers) and the verbal and physical comedy is sharp. Philip Bird goes for broke as Dr Caius the Frenchman, mangling pronunciations like a dainty Clouseau, and there is Fawltyesque outrage from the jealous Page (Michael Garner), disguised in a Judy Finnegan wig . When he rummages the suspect laundry-hamper into a frenzied fountain of Elizabethan underwear, there is a real ooh-matron moment with a corset; yet this is a comedic Othello, and moments of real rage give him an edge. Christopher Benjamin in a Santa beard handles Falstaff’s florid eloquence beautifully and keeps the right side of grossness (it is possible to dislike a Falstaff, but not this one). And at the heart of it all the scheming, vigorously virtuous wives – Serena Evans and Sarah Woodward – lark in perfect rapport.////
The surprise, though, was how touched I was by the dull young lovers, Anne and Fenton,singing a roundelay in the pretty garden. It counterpointed the middle-aged absurdities: I had forgotten that this comedy is a cheerful affirmation of unpretentious bourgeois love-matches. No grand passions, no politics, just gauche new love and mature comfort. And, of course, the more modern moment when Slender, conned into marrying a boy in a ghost-suit, briefly gives him the eye and prefigures the age of civil partnership. They got a cheer, too.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Shakespeare’s Globe SE1   dir. Dominic Dromgoole

Hippolyta is a captured bride, an Amazon with her longbow. When her husband-to-be orders Hermia to obey her father, this rebel bride takes a moment to sign a blessing on the younger girl’s brow before walking out. As her avatar Titania she is no soft touch either: even after her reconciliation with Oberon she suddenly, shockingly, spits a demand that he explain himself over the dirty trick with the love potion. As Hippolyta again she punctures the King’s dignity by neatly tripping him up with her hunting-bow, adding an innocent ‘Oops!” to Shakespeare’s text. Michelle Terry, fresh from another terrific performance at the Almeida, does her proud.////
Dominic Dromgoole’s production has bare-stage period authenticity but picks up with perceptive skill two key themes of the play: female rebellion and the uneasy primitive quality of the fairies. Their magic isn’t pretty-pretty but earthy, erratic and sly. Oberon wears antlers and tattooed chest, Titania skins and tatters. Puck (Matthew Tennyson) is a skinny adolescent wraith, often out of breath and incompetent, and plainly a catamite of Oberon (John Light), whose agile force-ten sexuality is never far from the surface. I have never seen it made clearer that the reason he wants to help Helena, after quarrelling with his own queen, is that she submissively begs to be her man’s “spaniel”. He likes women that way.////
Without being crude it is erotically charged, the runaway lovers ending up in muddy underwear after the forest chase. Sarah MacRae is a gawky, spirited Helena, Olivia Ross rises from coquetry to fury as Hermia, and their paramours (Joshua Silver and Luke Thompson) are contrastingly Hugh-Grantish floppy-doppy public schoolboys. With these fine tensions running through, and Clare van Kampen’s Renaissance-cum-jazzclub score, it never slackens.////
But Globe nights need to be damn good fun and rouse the groundlings. For this I bow to the best ever Rude Mechanicals. Led by the irresistibly funny Pearce Quigley as Bottom, they rouse cheers every time they clog-dance on with percussive Lancashire energy and steel toecaps. They conclude with a sublimely silly performance of what Quigley calls “Pyramus and thingy”. Snug the Joiner is forever crawling out to hammer the stage back together under the hero’s feet, Thisbe falls off, Wall collapses. A nice touch is that while the enchanted forest and Theseus’ palace were indicated with words and a ragged curtain, the Mechanicals struggle officiously on with a rickety elaborate stage. A sharp joke on those who spend more time on theatre machinery than on plays.

RICHARD III   dir. Tim Carroll

“Would you enforce me to a world of cares?” pleads the hypocrite usurper. A cry of “Yeaaah!” from the London mob: us. We are complicit, a cheering crowd of groundlings and galleries wound up to cry “God save King Richard!”. Maybe we are really cheering the return of Mark Rylance to the theatre whose rumbustious, authentically vigorous tone he set. In the first of two return performances (Twelfth Night follows) his twisted Richard is one to remember.////
It is an original-costume staging, all male: a thing of ruff and puffed pantaloon, cloaks and armour and stylized (but oddly convincing) white-faced Queens gliding around, defiant or frozen with fear (James Garnon is particularly impressive as the Duchess of York ). Rylance himself is caparisoned in a doublet of gold-and-orange stripes like a big affable bee, and limps in with playful bitterness , delivering in the first minute the most outrageously suggestive rendering yet of the words “lascivious playing of a a lute”. He buzzes around the stage, his air satirical verging on clownish (a look assisted by the hairdo) and more amused than otherwise by his proposed career as full-time villain. He indulges in almost Frankie-Howerd asides to the groundlings. The murder of Clarence properly darkens the tone: Tim Carroll, directing, knows how to keep the bare Globe stage moving and how to use the plaintive band of shawm, recorders, sackbuts and the rest to change the atmosphere./////
Rylance plays well against his ally (and final victim), Roger Lloyd Pack as Buckingham, who mirrors his affably vague manner at times but visibly shivers at the outbursts of rage which deface it. THe most terrifying is a silent moment as York, the cheeky Princeling in pink satin, asks to be borne “upon his shoulder”, and rashly touches the hunch. Rylance’s start, though momentary, sends the child scuttling behind a pillar.////
A Richard has to offer hints of what beyond mere ambition could make a man so casually murderous. Rylance makes the most of the character’s famous levity, but when confronted by his mother becomes, for a moment, almost Kevin the teenager (or perhaps the we-need-to-talk-about-Kevin killer). Here is the awkward ugly child who never fitted, the amoral teen who in the face of the grieving mother of the murdered Princes can petulantly grumble “Harp not upon that string!” . It is a beautifully manoeuvred hint, leading on to the ghost-ridden nightmare before Bosworth and the four o’clock cry of “There is no creature loves me!” . Yet even then, he exacts a laugh with “Is there a murderer here? Yes, I”.////
And so at last in armour, clanking and struggling like a great wounded beetle, he dies with energy, as his ghost victims parry every desperate swipe. Then it’s over, and the great Rylance is once again dancing his bow on the wide Globe stage, to cheers.

Maybe it’s revenge for the perceived rise of the Boardroom Ballbreaker, but the rough-love taming of Katherina, shuddered aside in peak feminist years, is newly popular. At the RSC Lucy Bailey set it in a giant bed, playing up the eroticism and giving it a twist by making the “curst, froward” unmarriageable girl a drunk, so that Petruchio’s shock treatment looked like therapeutic intervention. And Kiss me Kate, now rocking Chichester, always did duck clear of Shakespeare’s more graphic humiliations of the girl. Otherwise, a favoured route is to emphasise that it is framed as a jape played on a drunken tramp by toffs, mischievously pretending that this is how the gentry carry on.////
But without a shred of PC apology, and only a cursory nod to the tramp (he merrily pees on the groundlings at the start) , the Globe romps through one of the sunniest, funniest of evening: a cheeky, clever continuous delight. Toby Frow directs with comic precision which enlivens even the more obscure clown-chat, leaves absolutely no entendre un-doubled and adds his own visual jokes : every time Petruchio speaks of his father’s death his servant Grumio (Michael Bertenshaw) accidentally- on-purpose kicks a bucket. Shouldn’t be funny, but is: it’s all in the timing: kick-clang-glare-oops! Bertenshaw is splendid: they all are, adding lovely grace-notes of absurdity to the complex subplots: the unravelling of the Lucentio-Tranio-Vincentio pretence is brilliant. And Sarah MacRae’s Bianca, often a dull part, displays a passive- aggressive girlish slyness which nicely contrasts with her sister’s honest if intemperate frustration.////
But it can’t work unless the leads convince: and they do. Samantha Spiro is a Kate whose opening line is “Raaaarrrrrrr!” and whose physical capacity both to inflict and accept broad comic violence is startling. Yet she has dignity , a sparking, frustrated intelligence even at her most downtrodden, and hints early enough that Simon Paisley Day’s soldierly virile Petruchio is more to her taste than the popinjays seeking her sister. When she finally agrees that OK dear, the sun IS the moon if you say so, it is with an air of having learnt not submission, but the useful art of humouring a temporarily unreasonable man. When she wins the wife-calling game for him she is well in on the joke. And her final appeal, directed out to all of us, to eschew sour peevish behaviour is touchingly convincing.////
But perhaps – bah humbug, beshrew it! that was just the magical Globe dusk, the rising moon and swaying flickering candelabras. We may all be back in female command-mode by morning.

THE TEMPEST    dir. JEremy Herrin
Rocks , marbled to match the columns, litter the broad plank stage. Above a sea of groundlings sailors stagger and haul and noblemen panic, Alonso’s crown rolling by as the Bo’sun cries “What cares these roarers for the name of King?”. A model ship is tossed aloft and sinks in the crowd; high overhead Prospero watches, and on the stage’s shore a ragged Miranda cries in pity. ////
The Globe begins its season at its simple best, demanding of us the same imagination that Shakespeare asked under a younger sky. Jeremy Herrin’s production is sly in humour, immense in compassion and streaked with darkness, with a great actor at its heart. Roger Allam is Prospero: his Falstaff here won an Olivier, and once again he demonstrates that he is one of our finest Shakespearians. Even the most fleeting word is given an intelligent precision, rising from deep feeling. When he sharply asks about the castaways “Are they,Ariel, safe?” he throws a nervous glance at the daughter he has put into a magic sleep. Moments ago he blandly assured her they were. But this Prospero is fallible, a wronged man who struggled to master natural magic but remains wary of the powers he released.////
His daughter is too much to him after lonely years; his strictness to Ferdinand reflects (with considerable humour) a fatherly terror of losing her to marriage, even though he engineered it. And as TV viewers well know, Allam does middle-aged exasperation better than anyone. His Prospero is a fresh creation but pleasingly related to the heavyset, irritable politicians and policemen we know him for.////
If Allam finds a modern reality in the old enchanter, his Miranda matches it well. A surprise but clever choice, the ebullient Irish singer Jessie Buckley (runner-up in the TV “I’d do Anything”) does not sing but gives Miranda a wild-haired fresh simplicity, nicely offsetting Joshua James’ effete Ferdinand. When she solicitously takes the heavy logs off him, it is plain that Prince Wimp has never met a tomboy before. Which is funny. Indeed (despite some good Geordie clowning from Trevor Fox in a comedy codpiece) the best humour lies in that family interaction.////
The deep strange pathos of the play is well served by Stephen Warbeck’s eerie music (from sax to didgeridoo), by Colin Morgan as a remarkable, pallid adolescent Ariel and by James Garnon’s superb Caliban: one ethereal and parkour-acrobatic, the other crouching, a thing of darkness marbled like the rocks he crawls from. When Allam finally takes the twisted creature’s hand in forgiveness, there’s a jolt of unexpected pity. Wonderful.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA   dir. Jonathan Munby
Eve Best is an irresistible Cleopatra for today: no slinky seductive exoticism but a fresh, joyful, larky sensuality as well-expressed in warlike cloak and breeches as in a nightgown, royal robes or – at one stage – just a sheet as she searches for an Antony who has deserted her bed when – she snorts with irritation – “A Roman thought hath struck him”. A fierily physical performer, Best gives full rein to the Queen’s hysterical jealous rages (never has a messenger been so comprehensively beaten up by a woman) but defuses even her greatest griefs and rages with self-aware jokes right to the edge of death. Even when rudely silencing the rather beautifully melodious singing eunuch (Obioma Ugoala) she mocks her own mood. Touching, too, is the relationship with her handmaids Charmian and Iris: easy, affectionate, joshing. Charmian’s “Good madam, keep yourself within yourself!” evokes a habitual, unrebuked intimacy.
Indeed the whole of the Egyptian court, fanned with hanging carpets in the sparsely set, free-moving visual language of the Globe’s great stage, looks considerably more fun than the Roman senate. Here the rest of the triumvirate – an unhappy sober-suited coalition – discuss Pompey’s maritime threat and Mediterranean power politics. For in order for Shakespeare’s play to work well, we must believe that Antony is torn between his destiny as soldier and statesman and a mid-life love affair which made him willing to “give a kingdom for a mirth”. We have to see how a tough man’s man, whose campaigning stamina and hardships were legendary, could be caught by the “serpent of old Nile” and make disastrous military decisions. And how all the same his other nature could draw him back to embrace Roman duty and let Cleopatra down by marrying Caesar’s “holy, cold and still” sister.
Some Antonys fail at this, either playing too much the lover, or trying for the kind of preternatural , soaring, godlike nobility described in Cleopatra’s extraordinary late encomium in the Monument scene. Clive Wood does not fail: he creates a chunky, passionate, troubled man whose sweetness is always at war with a habit of ruthlessness. Against him is set Jolyon Coy’s Octavius Caesar: prim, puritanical, the parting of his schoolboy haircut straight, afflicted by no visible affections except for his sister. When Antony returns to Rome, his bright purple jacket contrasts nicely with Caesar’s sober-suited court.
So the emotional line of this broad tragedy – pretty well untrimmed at three hours – hangs finely on those three performances, and is studded with other treats. Phil Daniels’ Enobarbus – entrusted with some of the most famous poetic lines – will not be everyone’s favourite but I like the way he speaks them , without pretension, as if he had just made them up. The choreographed dancing exuberance of the Egyptians set against the stamping march of Rome underlines the difference even when both share the stage. When war breaks out in earnest a great tattered map of the Mediterranean countries falls from above and men with banners whirl aloft around one another on ropes.

The great golden-winged tragedy unfolds in the monument ,the asp strikes: silence and applause from thatch to groundlings confirm that necessary and ancient sense that we have been through something big, together.



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