Shakespeare for Breakfast

What Edinburgh Fringe would be complete without a trip to Shakespeare for Breakfast? Now in its 25th year at the festival, the group have not lost their touch. Alongside their characteristic croissants and coffee, this year they’re presenting a comic retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with an abundance of jokes, puns and gags to regale the audience.

The performance is so upbeat that it's impossible to come out without having blown away the cobwebs and feeling energised for the morning ahead

As in previous years, Shakespeare for Breakfast pride themselves in successfully creating accessible adaptations of theatre filled with popular culture references, from Star Wars and the Spice Girls, to Boris Johnson and the Great British Bake Off. The show is tremendously silly, something in which the audience seems to delight. The energetic cast and the interaction demanded from the audience throughout make for a wonderful start to any day at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Always a favourite with audiences, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is particularly popular at this year’s Fringe. However, the fast-paced, pun-filled update still feels fresh, and the Mechanicals scene at the end, where Bottom, Quince and friends try to put on a play is a scream: Thisbe, in particular, has the audience crying with laughter at her death. Romantic clichés abound, and social stereotypes are amusing, but possibly a tad facile.

Shakespeare for Breakfast is a fantastic introduction to Shakespeare for the whole family. Most of the audience were older (aged 40+ on average), but a few grinning young faces were scattered around the sell-out audience of 200 or so. The performance is so upbeat that it is impossible to come out without having blown away the cobwebs and feeling energised for the morning ahead. However, my expectations were a little dashed: it lacked the originality and variety that was so memorable the last time I saw the show, and instead was more of a Shakespeare pantomime. Nonetheless a worthwhile start to anyone’s morning.

Reviews by Fiona Russell

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The Blurb

The bardic breakfasters are back! C's sensational Shakespearience returns, for its 25th sell-out year, 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 and freshly-baked coissants. ‘A bouncy and boisterous take on Willie's work’ (List). ‘Well worth getting out of bed for’ (Independent). ‘No holds Bard’ ( ‘Irreverent humour… clever’ (Stage). ‘Side-splitting… glorious’ ( ‘Full of fun’ ( ‘Sizzling’ (Scottish Daily Express). Free coffee and croissants! Book early.