Shakespeare for Breakfast

If ever there was a perfectly matched pair, like a pie and a pint, a horse and cart or Edinburgh and rent-scalping, then surely Shakespeare is now inexorably linked with Breakfast. For it has been 6 years since C Venues have been serving up the Bard with a croissant and coffee at the hangover-challenging hour of 10am.

It is traditional for these events to take a rather liberal view of Shakespeare's original work, and this year is no exception. It's probably fairer to say this franchise is “inspired by” rather than “based on” anything William Shakespeare ever penned, as the plot is set in a forest where the cast of “Carry On Up The Avon” have crashed enroute to their premiere. The melting pot of characters - or possibly more accurately, caricatures - each grotesquely lampoon their roles.

High-brow this is not, and the performances from Gemma Whelas as the ass-fixated Cleopatra, James Witt as the narcissistic King Lear, Sarah Lark as the fame-hungry nurse, Jess Fostekew as Gollum-clone Puck, Sara Pascoe as the timid Hamlet and Alastair Watson as the abrasive Macbeth all sit at the panto end of the theatrical genre. But this is not a criticism.

There's plenty of groan-inducing gags at the expense of Shakespeare's greatest speeches, riddled with anachronistic humour and even a cameo for annual fans of this series. If anything, there's occasionally too many ideas going on at once, and the humour isn't always subtle - but this Fringe stalwart sings when the fourth wall is broken down and the cast acknowledge the audience to parody theatre.

It is for good reason that C have offered us Shakespeare for Breakfast as an annual fixture, and it would be wise to secure your ticket before the show starts selling out.

Reviews by Pete Shaw

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The Blurb

The Bardic Breakfasters are back. The Shakespeare sensation returns for a 16th sell-out year with FREE coffee and croissants! 'Bouncy and boisterous take on Willie's work'