Casting the audience back to an earlier time of history, big frocks and stiff collars of the first Elizabethan era. Playwright William Shakespeare is under the pressure of mounting debts and to add salt to the wound the worlds most prolific writer has writer’s block! It’s an interesting spin of fun fiction wrapping a story around this time. Shakespeare in Love is a wonderful ode to very art of theatre itself. A play within a play. This touring adaptation coming to the Nottingham stage is overseen by veteran Lee Hall, directed by Phillip Breen. Shakespeare in Love had a great run in the West End. Itself based upon the big hit screenplay by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman released near 20 years ago in 1998.
The performance of Pierro Niel-Mee has an air of forced exaggeration at times as Will. His mind awash with passion with no clear direction, yet ever charming. Eventually finding the muse he has been seeking, the beautiful and ever delightful Imogen Daines as Viola De Lesseps. Whose delicate poise and expressions have her as the stand out performer. Viola encapsulated yet torn between her life as the daughter of a merchant intent on marrying her off and defiant on striving to become a stage performer. Frolics ensue with a great supporting cast with down to earth straight spoken wit worthy of Shakespeare’s quill. With praise to seasoned veteran Edmund Kingsley as Kit Marlowe. Bill Wards Duke of Wessex commands the strongest presence. Queen Elizabeth (Geraldine Alexander). Whom I daftly semi-expected to portray the voice of Miranda Richardson. Thankfully she rose above to become a firm pillar of the show.
Rob Edwards builds upon the original role of Fennyman with strong comic timing. Ian Hughes delivers as Henslow, cunning cheeky with an eye for a crowd.
Stage and sound come together with the innovative use of a rotating stage structure, applying to many functions.
Paddy Cunneen brings forth a timely renaissance pizazz flowing from flutes and lutes carrying the tempo and score throughout. Inspiring a whole series of misadventure for our charming hero to write the famous love story told the world over.
The dog Spot being off stage sound cue does lose something of the famous line in context without a present canine. Yet completely understandable to such a decision. The closing acts bring out great and genuine felt performances from the whole cast. Before a whole cast merry jig befitting the royal court. Giving the audience the go home upbeat finish to strong applause.
Shakespeare in love: There’s a warm fuzzy journey of love, difficulty, and triumph in adversity. With chuckles to be had and tears to be shed.
Shakespeare in love in on stage at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until the 20th October.
Visit TRCH.co.uk for more information and to book your seat today or alternatively visit the box office.