Billy’s Birthday Bash: Let's Party Like It's 1564! (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

Billy’s Birthday Bash

Three classic plays in one silly hour

The ‘Billy’ in the title is none other than William Shakespeare, and this is not a birthday party but a celebration of 450 years since his birth through three of his most famous plays, each redacted into around fifteen minutes of frenetic fun.

It would be fair to say you’re unlikely to see a show with more energy and less props than this all festival. The three-strong cast, using nothing but imaginary objects and no costume changes, take us at break-neck speed through Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and finally Twelfth Night.

It's a dizzying ride, and exhausting watching them move through the characters and plays (not least because there should have been four performers, but for an ankle break at the start of the Fringe).

All the key elements are retained, and while the language is modernised there are key lines left in the original vernacular. Despite the lack of set, through a combination of cheesy jokes, audience interaction and the enthusiasm of a herd of CBeebies presenters on speed, they keep the children rapt and transported whilst giving them a great early start to the Bard. Schools should be queuing up to get them in.

Assembly George Square Gardens, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 18), 2.10pm, £10 (£8)

Billy's Birthday Bash: Let's Party Like It's 1564!

  • 4 stars

The Playground Theatre Company It's William Shakespeare's 450th birthday and everyone's invited! But will the celebrations go to plan…? Take your seats for fun, laughter and mayhem as your two hapless hosts struggle to keep the show on the road. The Playground presents a ridiculously entertaining show for everyone over…