Mrs. Shakespeare – Smock Alley – Review


Mrs. Shakespeare – Smock Alley – Review

Thurs 22nd – Sat 24th October at 8pm
Saturday Matinee @ 2pm in The Boys’ School

Some four hundred years later, Shakespeare has been reincarnated. This time around though, he’s come back as a woman, or so this particular individual would have you believe. She has written a number of new works, including Hitler the First and Charles the Third! The critics are slightly less enthusiastic this time around, they fail to see her genius for what it really is. She has started on a new work; something major. A rewrite of Hamlet set to focus on the female lead Ophelia, but will the male characters that live inside her head or her psychiatrist allow her to finish it?

This is a work that had a long gestation, with the original piece by Ian Wild written in 1983. After over 30 years and several different incarnations, Mrs. Shakespeare arrived on stage last year. Since that time, this production has toured extensively, and has previously appeared in the Bristol Shakespeare festival and the Edinburgh Fringe.

It is a one woman show with Irene Kelleher taking on all parts. She is already on stage as you enter the theatre, lying on a psychiatrist’s couch at the side of the stage. The set includes some elements from the mental hospital in which she now resides, but also other props to allow her to move through her character range with greater ease.

While some may fear this is a difficult piece that aims to deconstruct Hamlet, it is nothing of the sort. It is a light hearted comedy at its core, and no real knowledge of Hamlet or the Bard’s other work is required to enjoy the text. The role allows Kelleher to show her full range, playing many parts in the production. She darts between the grave digger, Polonius, her psychiatrist and Hamlet himself! She puts great energy into the part and it is a playful and sometimes wild performance. This is an enjoyable flight of fancy inside a deranged mind with many humorous lines and ideas.

Written by: Ian Wild
Performed by: Irene Kelleher


Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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