Elizabethan (3 stars)

This article is from 2019


Musical antics from ye olde England

Elizabethan is an uncomplicated romp through a selection of tunes from the time of Shakespeare. Tobias Bacon - a name ideal for making pork-related puns – runs through his autobiography (a flimsy tale of love lost and gained), which is an excuse to strum and pluck the hits of the era. From a rousing paean to tobacco to one of John Dowland's melancholic classics, Bacon demonstrates that human concerns haven't changed too much over the centuries.

Despite the obvious musical skill and witty selection of tunes, Elizabethan doesn't take itself too seriously. Tobias is a romantic young man, a little simple and not disdainful of bad jokes. More sophisticated humour fails to land, but the 'so-bad-they-are-funny' gags keeps the fun rolling. Some of the songs are surprisingly naughty – the one about the dildo is an inevitable highlight – and the juxtaposition of formal language and saucy content provides plenty of comedy.

Rapidly delivered and lacking any pretension, Elizabethan is a populist take on the past, less interested in constructing a historically accurate character than having a laugh and, while the audience interaction was occasionally laboured, it has a welcoming, playful atmosphere that frames the songs and draws out their witty, and erotic, intentions.

TheSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 23 Aug (not 18), 6.05pm, £9 (£7).


  • 3 stars

David William Hughes Join Tobias Bacon as he lutes and lusts his way through Elizabethan England in this new musical comedy based on genuine Renaissance songs. With the help of the audience – and some extremely dodgy wigs – David William Hughes plays Tobias and a trio of his lovers, all whilst singing and playing the…