Shakesperience is indeed is a very positive and heart-warming experience. This trio of plays by these young trio of actors is definitely worth a punt if you want to expose your kid to Elizabethan theatre gently! Three twenty-minute bite sized chunks — a comedy, a tragedy and a romance — will be just enough to wet a young appetite for the greatest playwright of all time.
Staying true to each story line but with a few modern twists, this production was devised originally by Playground Theatre and directed by Jim Rastall. It successfully translates complicated plot lines into understandable stories for a wee modern-day audience No trauma is inflicted – particularly to those unfamiliar with the death, murder, suicide and general destruction ever present in some of Shakespeare’s texts.
Praise indeed for the talented actors (Nick Delvallé, Carrie Hill and Alice Morgan-Richards) whose many varied comedic characterisations bring delight and depth to each play. The treatment of even the goriest and saddest parts of certain plot lines are made palatable for the younger kids. Carrie Hill’s Lady Macbeth is still ‘a funny’ psychopath after all. The murdering of King Duncan by Macbeth and the double suicide of Romeo and Juliet were dramatised with a light-hearted touch.
The cast’s comic timing coupled with their extraordinarily inventiveness and minimalist approach allows the true ‘theatre of the imagination’ to breathe in to young open minds. There are few props, no set, no costume changes and back up is required from the audience for crowd scenes. Only two witches for Macbeth? No worries, there is Ethel – the talking hand. Blood gushing was demonstrated in a couple of very original ways. Women dressed up as men, playing women pretending to be men (Twelfth Night) miraculously works. You might get to play a small part yourself.
The language is stripped back and joyous to listen to. ‘Shakespearian’ enough to remain true, but plenty of plain-speaking for those little ones whose ear is unaccustomed to the iambic pentameter. References to Braveheart, Irn Bru, mobile texting, and other post-Shakespearean inventions was cleverly done and sprinkled everything with humour.
This is a fantastic introduction to the Bard, and just what is required to entice, excite and exhilarate. Three lovely morsels of bite sized theatre that gets young minds engaged with the pure joy and talents of the Bard’s storytelling. Teachers take note.