Shakespeare for Breakfast

C Theatre Company gives George Alexander Louis’ recent entry into the world a brilliant twist. As Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton squabble outside the hospital doors, they begin to reminisce about what Kate used to be like. So begins a scintillating version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, realigned to follow our monarchy’s contemporary love story.

The tales meld wonderfully together. Kate Middleton really would, it seems, have made a fantastic goth shrew and Prince William Petruchio’s dark and dangerous side is rather more appealing than our future king’s receding hairline. Everyone leaves secretly wishing he could have got married in a tutu and a denim jacket reading ‘Big Willie’. The set-up also means that flirty and highly desired Pippa Bianca is able to showcase her behind at the service to a proper anthem. The concept presents a whirlwind of irony, good-natured mockery and originality: Will sets out to tame ‘Kate the Cursed’ while his very horny younger brother masquerades as Pippa’s lute teacher. It’s difficult to bring much to Shakespeare that feels genuinely innovative but this truly aces it.

The construct also benefits from the solid support of a team of skilful actors. Each member of the cast brings a repertoire of elastic facial expressions to the table – particularly Will Jennings (Lucentio) and Michael Lapham (Baptista Middleton), who make the more minor characters of the show epicentres of hilarity. Director Cecily Boys further enhances the troupe’s performance with an ingenious use of soundtrack; the ballads of the bard find their spicy 21st century counterparts. Everything is so well brought together that the audience becomes utterly oblivious to the complete absence of the stage’s set.

It’s a slight shame that the play finishes with Katharina’s monologue, as its nature seems inconsistent with the joviality of the adaptation: preaching a woman’s submission to her husband detracts a little from a modern day comedy. Given the superb quality of the production as a whole, however, this is a minor point. Overall, The Reclaiming of the Shrew is Shakespeare made so entertaining and accessible that you will forget all about your free croissant.

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.
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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. 22nd sell-out edition! 'Bouncy and boisterous take on Willie's work' (List). 'Well worth getting out of bed for' (Independent). Free coffee and croissants! Book early. www.ctheatre.com

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