Whenever a new play comes to the West End it takes a while for word of mouth to spread whether the show is worth seeing or not. When films become stage shows, it’s fairly common for an audience to come in with a preconception of what it’ll all be like, and it seems to happen even more often with Shakespeare in Love. We’re here to dispel the myths and second-guesses, because our show of the month this December is well worth the trip. Start spreading the news: Shakespeare in Love is the funniest London play since One Man, Two Guvnors.
It’s just watered-down Shakespeare isn’t it?
Discerning fans of the Bard’s work are always (rightly) suspicious of anything that undermines or devalues the life or works of our greatest writer. Shakespeare in Love doesn’t do that. Think of it as a homage to the Bard’s life that takes a few creative liberties here and there – nothing unworthy of the man himself.
It pays to remember the acclaimed creative team behind the play. Theatre company Cheek by Jowl – director Declan Donnellan and designer Nick Ormerod – are amongst the world’s leading practitioners of Shakespeare plays and their productions have played in over forty different countries during their 30 year career. The script, by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall, is adapted from the original screenplay by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman. Stoppard, I need not remind you, is the winner of four Tony Awards and one of the most celebrated theatre writers of our generation.
Shakespeare? Won’t it all be boring language I don’t understand?
No! Whilst the language of the play does echo the tone of Shakespeare’s plays beautifully, it’s not hard to follow or understand – the show is really accessible. A delightful comedy of errors, the plot is charmingly romantic and whilst there are plot twists and lots of mistaken identity, it’s not so frenetic that you won’t know what’s going on!
Is it just Romeo & Juliet called something different?
This is another case of mistaken identity. A sweeping tale of romance between Shakespeare and his muse Viola – who does indeed inspire him to write his greatest work – is an original story and not one of Shakespeare’s own stories in disguise. Don’t go thinking it’s a soppy love story either – though it is a romantic tale it’s first and foremost a comedy and a celebration of the theatre too.
Surely the cast won’t be as good on stage, what with no Gwyneth and no Dame Judi and all?
Let’s nip this one in the bud too – Tom Bateman and Lucy Briggs-Owen have been garnering fantastic reviews as ‘Will’ and Viola, the two main roles. Leading a terrific ensemble which includes one of the best appearances by a dog on stage in living memory, you really do just have to go see it!
Perhaps the best reason to go though is that top price tickets to this fabulous play and our hotel packages are available this month for under £99pp. Book before December 31st and fall in love with Shakespeare in Love!
Planning a trip to the West End? Tell us what you’re off to see in our comments section below!