Shakespeare for Breakfast
- Gareth K Vile
- 5 August 2018
Problematic attitudes give a song and a snack
Something of a venerable tradition at the C venues, Shakespeare for Breakfast probably relies as much on the offer of coffee and croissants as it does on Bardolatry, but the semi-musical remake of Taming of the Shrew kicks poetic pieties into the purview of pantomime palaver. Having misheard the title, the cast set the show in an East End show shop and Shakespeare's misogynistic masterpiece is given the sprightly step and soulful swing of a modern verse comedy.
The ensemble are playful and confident, dealing with the corruption of English's 'Great Playwright' and audience participation gleefully: nods to the problems of the text don't really resolve the clear disrespect for women, but the broad humour manages to keep the tone light and witty. With the cast all playing multiple roles, there is plenty of fun with scene changes and costume problems: it justifies the early morning slot by being smart and dynamic. Shakespeare does not have to be serious all the time…
Disposable and poppy, the self-aware script does become tired towards the end, and the themes of the play start to disappear when the rush to tie up the plot undermines the hard work of the first scenes in establishing mood and character. But a lively start to the day – with free food and drink – ensures Shakespeare for Breakfast will continue being a familiar Fringe favourite for the future.
C venues, until 27 Aug (not 13), 10am, £8.50–£9.50 (£6.50–£7.50)