Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Theatre Review: Secret Shakespeare by William Shakespeare and The Handlebards

So, my Edinburgh Fringe theatre reviews are ready to be posted! They’ll come as often as I can, but I have a lot of school work to do, plus I’m doing work exp
erience at a law firm and ugh travelling is tiring. They’ll come though. And book reviews will resume shortly, and maybe some other things. Thanks for sticking around!   

Title:  Secret Shakespeare (A Shakespeare play, but I can't say which one)
Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: James Farrell & Emma Sampson
Performed by: The Handlebards
Major cast:  Calum Hughes Mcintosh,  Callum Brodie, Tom Dixon, Paul Moss
Seen at:  ...somewhere pretty.

Review: The Handlebards are four actors who have been cycling up from London to Edinburgh, carrying their costumes and props, and stopping every so often to perform a show. Secret Shakespeare is where the audience joins them to meet up in the city centre, get given bikes, ride out about 5 miles-ish, and then enjoy the show. I'm not allowed to tell you much about the play in specifics, due to the secret thing, but I'll say what I can.
The ride was easy, even for someone who hasn't ridden for years, and led by professionals. We cycled through parts of the city I probably would never have seen if I'd spent all my time in the centre, so that was nice.
The location was beautiful. Beautiful behind the audience, beautiful behind the stage, it was a great place to be. It's an open air show, with tents providing the wings and gazebos for the audience to sit under. Oh, and the rain wasn't too bad!
When they said what play they were doing, I was very happy. I hadn't seen it before, but I was familiar with the storyline.
I love the puppetry. It's first used to illustrate the exposition speech, which was very useful because it is a confusing set up. It's later used to represent characters in some scenes where there's meant to be more than four characters on stage. Other ways of getting around the "only four actors" thing includes holding out key identifying costume pieces, audience participation, and plates.
The multiroling is superb. All four actors have to switch costumes and characters very very quickly, sometimes speaking back to themselves. Costume, voice, and movement changes make clearly defined characters. I really enjoyed the characterisation, especially of the women.
I did find it going a bit too fast in places, and I'm not sure if it's because of the Handlebards format or the writing. Probably both. Despite this, I really enjoyed the show.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea to an inventive take on an old play, and a great evening out.

Links:  Company

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Edinburgh Fringe 2015

You may have noticed from Twitter and Instagram, I'm at Edinburgh Fringe!! I'm having a brilliant time and I've seen some wonderful shows. Now, I've promised reviews to all the plays I've seen, and they are being written. But formatting and dealing with pictures does not work on my phone, so I'll post the properly formatted theatre reviews when I'm back at home. In the meantime, my reviews are uploaded to the Fringe ticketing website, so you can look at them there.