Fun for parents and children alike,
I for one found myself enjoying it far more than I had expected to; I even learnt a few things.
The show is fantastically educational: crammed with facts and silliness that had children, as well as the number of unaccompanied adults who attended, giggling away. In addition to an in-depth coverage of Shakespeare’s life, the cast also manage to cover all 37 of the plays to some degree. There are a few opportunities for the audience to get involved, which is always wonderful in a kids’ show. They could have possibly done a little more of this; the first half in particular left small children sitting quietly for quite a while, resulting in a few beginning to fidget and lose focus.
The second half definitely made up for this, however, with the “Shakespearean Insult Game”, which went down very well with youngsters. The fun death sequence at the end was truly inspired and very funny to watch. Other highlights include the recurring character of Shakespeare’s embarrassing dad, the musical talent of the group and the section on Shakespeare’s poetry, which was made accessible to children.
The songs were beautifully performed; Come Away in particular was so beautifully sung that it actually produced goosebumps, which was definitely a pleasant surprise in a children’s show. The acting was of a very high standard, incredibly well tailored to the audience and the group clearly have a lot of individual talent as well.
Despite being advertised as a children’s show, The Ruff Guide to Shakespeare seemed to have attracted a number of adults as well, possibly seeking some refuge from the chaos of George Square and the Old Town. I for one found myself enjoying it far more than I had expected to; I even learnt a few things. If you are looking for a show suitable for the whole family that will introduce children (and possibly yourself) to the world’s most performed playwright, The Ruff Guide to Shakespeare is for you.