Bard in the Yard: The Scottish Play

Meet Shakespeare, but not the Shakespeare you know. Perhaps not even the Shakespeare you love.

not the Shakespeare you know

This one is stuck up in Scotland until he can write a play about the place for James I, and has a severe case of writer’s block. ‘Bard’s Block’ might be a better word for it in this case, but I ought to leave the coining to the wordsmith. Bard in the Yard consists of a single actor brainstorming, bellyaching, and generally blathering for about an hour, while in a yard. Or at least, while on stage at the Pleasance Courtyard, which is close enough.

At no point do you loose sight of the stage, or indeed the carefully constructed theatricality of it all. The script makes time for a selection of soliloquies which could easily have been indiscriminately pulled from a ‘Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits Album’. Their brilliance is refreshing in this context, but occasionally derailed by tonal whiplash. On the day I watched, Cleopatra’s final speech was poignantly and skilfully delivered before unceremoniously devolving into a comedy death scene. It was funny, but only because it was amusingly worse than we were expecting.

This is the principle on which most of the jokes operate, so it becomes easy to see coming.

Anyway, moving on from each incidental visit to the genuine writings of William Shakespeare, we return to the plot. The goal is to generate some fresh ideas with the help of the audience, in the hope of avoiding being beheaded. On the way, the script tracks a meandering route through questionably accurate anecdotes of Shakespeare’s life and times. The plague of 1606 is forced into parallel with Covid-19 with all the subtlety of a Renaissance innuendo. This allows for some reflections on loss, shared trauma and the glorious return of theatre which would be genuinely moving if they weren’t trying so hard to move you that they might as well do it with a forklift truck.

Anyway, moving on from each incidental visit to your heartstrings, we return to the plot. What was the plot again?

Bard in the Yard is Shakespeare for people who don’t like Shakespeare. ‘Shakespeare-lite’. It’s fun and accessible and keeps your attention in the same way a pantomime does, because you never know when you’re next going to be required to shout ‘Who’s There?’ (not quite Shakespeare) or ‘Awww’ (not quite sympathy). If it sounds like your thing, then brush up on your thees and thous, and don’t say ‘Macbeth’. Oops.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Monica Yell

theSpaceTriplex

Afterparty

★★★★
theSpace @ Symposium Hall

Tick Tick

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Bard in the Yard: The Scottish Play

★★★
Assembly Roxy

Fear of Roses

★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

On Your Bike

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The Bard needs your help! Shakespeare has been sent to Scotland to write a masterpiece, but apart from meeting a witch and penning a rough draft of a speech about a dagger, he's got nothing! The King will have his head on a stick if Will dares show his quill in London without a Scottish play. Join the Bard for this solo show 'delivered to perfection' (Telegraph), that will make you live 'an unforgettable theatrical experience' (Dame Helen Mirren, Godmother) made up of classic monologues and plague quarantine travails.

Most Popular See More

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets