This promenade performance from the strolling players of Bath’s Natural Theatre rests on the notion that they have discovered a long-lost partial manuscript of the Bard’s previously unknown early work, which precedes the plays we know.
So we wander the environs of the Georgian architecture, as we are invited to imagine we are in Venice or Naples while various proto- Shakespearean characters appear in a plot with the usual Bardic tropes: characters falling hopelessly in love for no apparent reason, a ghost, a woman dressed as a man, lots of cheeky adaptations of Shakespeare quotes we are familiar with, and everyone married to who they want to be married to at the end.
It’s an amiable romp, and the four players are adept at the classic “Shakespearean” luvvies style of acting, but in the end it’s not much more funny than Shakespeare’s actual comedies, and Elizabethan jokes don’t always wear well.
It’s enjoyable, though somewhat less adventurous than one expects from the Naturals’ usual more anarchic approach.
Could have done with some more outrageous anachronisms, and a lot more smut, perhaps.
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Reviewer: John Christopher Wood | Star rating: ***