Shakespeare for Breakfast

Messing with Shakespeare is par for the course at the Fringe. Each year, theatre companies jostle to reinvent the bard’s sonnets and soliloquies, delivering them with post-modern, zeitgeist-grabbing tongue-in-cheek pizzazz. It’s a wonder there’s not a Shakespeare theatre app available yet; shake once to determine the play you’ll be demolishing this season. Shake twice to learn the regional accent you’ll be adopting. Then, if you don’t like Scouse, shake a third time to roll again.

The recasting of Romeo & Juliet as a Made in Chelsea romp - complete with vapid airheads and Hunter-clad toffs - might seem like a gutsy move, but in 2012 it’s exactly what you’d expect. To be daringly outre, a theatre company should actually aver: “You know what? We’re just gonna do Shakespeare traditionally this year. Screw all your vajazzles and Fakies.”

Verona’s most famous balcony may be transformed into a humble stepladder for the purposes of this production, but SfB towers over the competition. Ill-fated love, murder and suicide have never seemed funnier. Mocking popular culture while taking liberties with the classics may be de rigueur these days, but SfB is in no danger of being subsumed into the contemporary Shakespearean canon. It’s far too sharp and self-deprecating for that.

“I just cannae stop thinking about her,” says our Geordie Romeo, lamenting his banishment to Manchester. “Shall I compare thee to a Tyne summer’s day?”

Over the course of 60 side-splitting minutes, everything from G4S to Boris Johnson’s zip-lining escapades is lampooned, as well as cameos from Siri - the iPhone’s talking assistant - and 50 Shades of Grey, naturally.

With such lines as “We should deffo banter” and “I was just sick in my mouth”, Shakespeare for Breakfast may not be one for the purists. For the rest of us, however, it’s a quest to count the number of cultural references that can be crammed in before Juliet chugs down an Innocent smoothie and expires. SfB is so silly that before long, we’ve stopped caring about the fate of our star-crossed lovers – so long as we get a rendition of Whigfield’s Saturday Night and a croissant to chew on, we’ll leave feeling full and contented. There’s nothing tragic about this glorious tragicomedy.

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.
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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.
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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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

The Blurb

The Bardic Breakfasters are back! C's Shakespearean sensation returns for its 21st sell-out edition. 'Bouncy and boisterous take on Willie's work' (List). 'Well worth getting out of bed for' (Independent). Free coffee and croissants! www.ctheatre.com.

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