The Shakespeare Show: won't tell you who wrote Shakespeare but is fun

The Shakespeare Show

The hypothesis that the works of Shakespeare were penned by someone other than the Bard himself is hardly new or shocking; the academic world is fairly glutted with advocates of the point. Monster Theatre’s The Shakespeare Show offers a fairly lighthearted approach to this age-old scandal, telling a theoretical tale of how the talented and conflicted Earl of Oxford used an illiterate horseholder named Shakespeare to vicariously express his theatrical passions.

Penned in tongue-in-cheek rhyme by Fringe mainstay Ryan Gladstone, the script is filled with high-tempo humour. The wordplay may not be quite Shakespearean, but the real laughs are to be found in the enthusiastic physicality of the performance. Gladstone plays the buffoonish Billy S. while Tara Travis steps into the pantaloons of the Earl, though between the two of them they also fill out the entire damatis personae of supporting characters. Travis in particular hams it up by playing an entire trio of actors with impressive ease.

The issue of whether Shakespeare was or wasn’t a fraud is hardly resolved by this bit of farcical fun, but by the end you’re laughing so hard you really don’t care.

The Shakespeare Show is part of this year's Toronto Fringe Festival. For more information get your bard on here.

By Ryan West