The Shakespeare Heptet Fringe Show

As a Bard-olator, I was keen to see this show. Something somewhat Shakespearean on a Saturday always goes down well at an intimate venue… and washes down nicely with a pint and some North African food. That is exactly what we got at The Blue Man Bar and Restaurant.

Shake me sideways; this was a good show.

The front man was quirky and the stage boasted tassels. What more could we ask for? Well, we got beautiful folk and blues music and a run through of Shakespeare scholarship on the side. Shake me sideways; this was a good show. The sounds of the Shakespeare Heptet didn’t swamp the subtleties of the sonnets. Renaissance rhythms and rhyme were retained, and a flourish of folk complimented the hypnotic quality of Shakespeare’s verse. The band fittingly commemorated the 450th year since the Bard’s birth.

Interestingly, there was a certain mathematical uncertainty to the evening. Although there were five onstage, the CDs on sale were of the Shakespeare Trio, and a mysterious sixth band member led the audience in clapping and singing along. Furthermore, the energy of the front-man was equal to that of three men, at least. While no one got up and danced until the last songs and drinks, the audience jiggled and swayed in their seats all the way through, with the band bidding us to clap along. We did so with gusto, even though the frequent solos and experimental instrumentals often threw us off rhythm. The arty and novel variations in the songs were enjoyable and showed personality and creativity. Although not so easy to follow and predict the lyrics, the listening experience was thought-provoking and often full of surprises.

The warm harmonies, fluid cajon drumming and banjo rolls summed up to a summer night of sonorous sonnet satisfaction.

Reviews by Felicity Harris

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The Blurb

The Shakespeare Heptet are a gathering of musicians who compose music for the Bard's sonnets in a folk/blues style. Imagine Shakespeare's sonnets set to music in a folk/blues style: New Wave, Fence Post Blues and a Bard. A brand new selection of sonnets is in production. Expect percussive soundscapes, three part harmonies, bass, and a 12-string guitar. And, most importantly for the Sonnet project, William Shakespeare's words.