Printable CopySHAKESPEARE IN THE BAR
Butterfly Theatre
Holden Street Theatres
Until 26 Sep 2020

Review by Fran Edwards

This seemed a fascinating idea, taking bits of the Bard’s writings out of their intended context and providing a new way to view them. Potentially this could fail in a major way, but it didn’t. Tony Knight put together an excellent selection of speeches, exchanges and poems divided into five acts with a prologue and an epilogue. Knight directed the piece with four experienced players, Marc Clement, Stefanie Rosi, Bronwyn Ruciak and Benn Welford – complete with music composed by Alan John for ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ and ‘Full Five Fathom’.

With the themes grouped to cover acting, wooing, surmising (if), ambition, melancholy and madness and death it was a complex piece which flowed beautifully. The players moved in and out and around the audience seamlessly throughout the excerpts. Each of the cast delivered the well-known words and gave us an understanding of the passionate delivery of some scenes. Ben and Stephanie gave Romeo and Juliet life, Marc reminded us beautifully that ‘All the world’s a stage’, and Bronwyn was on form with ‘Think not I love him’ (from “As You Like It”). With pieces from “Macbeth”, “King Lear”, “Othello” and “Hamlet” all the ‘biggies’ made an appearance.

Several moments resonated with me but Stephanie’s delivery of the Willow song was lovely as were the gentle harmonies in “Under the Greenwood Tree”. A very different evening and a nice way to return to the theatre.