Shakin' Shakespeare

Shakin’ Shakespeare does an incredible job at presenting the playwright’s work in an accessible and side-splittingly funny way. The extremely talented cast, who are performing not one but three different plays at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year, performed Romeo and Juliet the morning I attended. I had not prepared myself for anything near as funny, and was very pleasantly surprised;

Shakin’ Shakespeare is very worthwhile Fringe viewing.

Shakin’ Shakespeare, comprising nine hilarious and remarkably talented cast members, deliver a laugh-fuelled musical, with memorable and catchy songs I found myself humming hours later, and interpreting the characters in a fun and convincing manner: the nurse is pretty much straight out of Monty Python, whilst Paris is a lecherous and narcissistic Frenchman. Friar Laurence is presented as a bashful Irishman. The play also features a very strong and comical Mercutio (Sandy Bain), complete with hip wiggling and a suave arrogance that completely suits the character.

The Edinburgh-based Captivate Theatre presented a very strong performance, suitable for children and adults alike. Shakin’ Shakespeare has all the fun of a pantomime, whilst also catering to presenting plays that are so integral to the English canon in an intelligent and accessible way, placing their own critical commentary on the play, making it a good choice for parents and for children studying the play in class: Rosaline, for example, who is a character who is only ever alluded to in Shakespeare’s text, gets her own song, and the ‘saucy, bawdy’ nurse plays a more prominent role which is entirely warranted. Juliet’s mother is also presented as being something of a sociopath, all of which are very plausible and entertaining new ways of delivering the world’s best known play. Shakin’ Shakespeare is fresh in its delivery, bounding with energy, making it entertaining and accessible for all levels and ages.

The costumes are great, and the props and staging is fun. Occasionally, the recorded music would drown out the singing, particularly in the rap numbers. The quality of the music was very high however, with a variety of fun and current songs, ranging from rock and power ballads to pop and rap; Lady Capulet in particular (Meg Laird-Drummond) has an impressive and unexpectedly powerful voice.

Full of great tunes, endless moments of hilarity and an incredibly talented cast both in terms of their acting ability, their comedic delivery and timing, and their real musicality, Shakin’ Shakespeare is possibly one of the best children’s shows at the Fringe this year. The kids in the audience – and the adults too, for that matter – really enjoyed the show with its recurring jokes and fun, vibrant delivery. Shakin’ Shakespeare is very worthwhile Fringe viewing. 

Reviews by Fiona Russell

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Brave Macbeth, Cheer Up Hamlet, Romantic Romeo: three hugely entertaining, fast and smart adaptations of Shakespeare's stories that brilliantly weave the Bard's words with wickedly witty songs, slapstick and fast-paced storytelling! 'A hilarious formula to introduce Shakespeare's plots to young 'uns.' (HuffingtonPost.co.uk). 'Captivate Theatre has set the mark for how Shakespeare can be enjoyable and fun for all ages.' (BroadwayBaby.com). One show daily, please see www.captivatetheatre.com or www.gildedballoon.co.uk for details.

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