Shakespeare for Breakfast

A morning staple of the festival Fringe, Shakespeare for Breakfast (with its customary coffee and croissant) has provided a fun twist on the Bard’s classics at C venues for over 25 years. This year, they have swapped the bleak moors of Macbeth’s Scotland for somewhere altogether dirtier - the garden allotments of a quaint English village. This is by no means, however, a filthy show – with nods to pop culture and puns-a-plenty (mind your onions and hold onto your marrows), this all-singing, all-dabbing adaptation is a far cry from the famously horrifying tale of pride, desire and revenge.

A must-see for anyone who enjoys their Tragedies with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek.

As is well known, the name of the Scottish play can bring bad luck if spoken onstage – so the first thing that needs to happen is to find a new name for our protagonist, volunteered slightly unwillingly by a member of the audience. This one of many such interactions, as in return for the free pastry you may find yourself a key part of the adventure – but don’t worry, it’s nothing embarrassing.

As a regular Breakfast-er, it was great to see the humble croissant take centre stage after many years of waiting, whilst other tropes of the aspirational middle-class are scattered through the script like cacao powder on an avocado brownie. Sometimes these can be seen from miles away, but for the most part, this is a production encouraging laughs, claps and cheers whilst stopping just short of pantomime groans.

This is a group who are loving every minute they spend together onstage - occasional missteps are smoothly covered and the quick-fire repartee comes so fast it’s hard to tell sometimes what is scripted and what isn’t. Whilst multi-role-ing always presents certain challenges, these foibles are fully embraced by the cast of five, leading to several enjoyably self-aware situations that are solved with puppetry, quick changes and more.

Surprisingly, given the location, this is one of the most sanitised productions of Macbeth I have ever seen. Gruesome murders are despatched via mail order and announced over the radio without so much as a blink of an eye. It’s almost a shame, as by removing these moments the gravity of Macbeth’s fall from grace cannot be fully realised. However, if you have sat down with a pastry on your knee expecting gravity in this performance, I am afraid you are in the wrong show.

This is as much clean fun as you have have whilst up to your knees in an Englishman’s prize gardening patch. Not only that, but with unmissable nods to many of Shakespeare’s other well-known works, it’s a must-see for anyone who enjoys their Tragedies with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek.

Reviews by Katie Rose

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The Blurb

The Bardic Breakfasters are back! C's sensational Shakespearience returns for its 26th sell-out year, with free coffee and croissants! A pleasing plethora of pentameter, puns and pastry. Perfect for hardened Bard fans, blank verse virgins and those just after some quality fun over freshly-brewed coffee and freshly-baked croissants. '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.