If you’ve never been interested in sixteenth century English literature, this might change your mind. Shakespeare gets turned on its head in this irreverent and avant-garde production that brings together some of the Bard’s more well-known characters.
No Holds Bard is a gripping and superbly written one man show which sees Hamlet at the end of his tether and at the brink of a nervous breakdown. Distressed as he has ‘lost his mirth’, the play is a glimpse into this troubled man’s psyche as he considers the infamous question: to be or not to be?Along the way we meet other characters from the Shakespearian universe, namely Macbeth, King Lear and Othello, who arrive in turn and attempt to help our titular character. What unfolds before our eyes is a combination of absurd, hilarious and truly extraordinary piece of theatre.
This is definitely a character-driven story and Michael Hurst portrays each character masterfully and with staggering believability. He jumps between all the characters seamlessly; each one had a very distinct persona and demeanour – it was always clear who he was playing. I found his portrayal of the gregarious Scotsman Macbeth especially a delight to watch.Hurst is the quintessential stage performer – it is evident he is an accomplished actor. The physicality and energy that he brings to the stage is truly impressive and his grasp of the text and effortless command of the different accents is remarkable. From slapstick to the dramatic to a jaw-droppingly well-choreographed fight scene, his performance cannot be described as anything else but flawless.
No Holds Bard is incredibly riveting and utterly entertaining; a breathtakingly visionary and deeply emotional theatrical masterpiece that has raised the bar on where and how the Bard can travel from page to the stage.