Shakespeare for Breakfast

Shakespeare for Breakfast is to Fringe as dawn is to day: whilst you could technically have one without it, it really wouldn’t feel very right. And this year’s offering is no less deserving of its reputation: despite some small gripes, it’s nevertheless a frighteningly funny ensemble piece worthy of its sell-out audience.

With free croissants thrown in, who could say no?

Things are not right in Elsinore: the king is dead, Claudius has married his widow and young Hamlet is creatively frustrated in his work as a film director. What follows is one of the most self-aware and funny interpretations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet you could ask for. And even better, although the show wildly oscillates between subtle and utterly bizarre, it’s a surprisingly faithful distillation of Hamlet into a single 55-minute show, using a very minimal set. To pick apart the cast is impossible because they are all so strong in their myriad parts. There is no weak link in this production, and it shows: every cast member has impeccable comic timing (and surprisingly strong accent work). Fittingly, all of them are rapier-sharp, and deliver both modified soliloquies and farcical physical comedy with equal skill. They are the show’s biggest strength and greatest asset, and they should all be proud of their performances.

It’s unfortunate, however, that while some of the pop-culture references make for the funniest parts of the show, many seem completely unneeded, and some are downright unfunny, feeling more like an indulgent in-joke rather than a performance piece. Such jokes are frequent in the first ten minutes of the show, which makes for a rocky start.

However, despite a few stumbles, this is another tour-de-force. And with free croissants thrown in, who could say no? The free coffee was shaky rather than Shakespearean, but luckily the show was so good, it provided a buzz all of it’s own. 

Reviews by J W Close

C venues - C nova

Threesome

★★★
Greenside @ Nicolson Square

That Deadly Noir Magic

★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

The Canterbury Tales

★★★
theSpace on the Mile

The King of Monte Cristo

★★★
theSpace @ Symposium Hall

Messages from Japan / Super-cussion

★★★★
Whistlebinkies

Gary Colman: Tickling Mice

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The Bardic Breakfasters are back! C's sensational Shakespearience returns, following 23 sell-out years, with free coffee and croissants! A pleasing plethora of pentameter, puns and pastry. Perfect for hardened Bard fans, blank verse virgins or those just after some quality fun over freshly brewed coffee. 'Bouncy and boisterous take on Willie's work' (List). 'Well worth getting out of bed for' (Independent). 'Sizzling' (Scottish Daily Express). Free coffee and croissants! Book early.