Shakespeare As You (Might) Like It by Shook Up Shakespeare at the Rosemary Branch Theatre

The Rosemary Branch is starting to develop a bit of a reputation for putting on a wide selection of great comedy entertainment in the little space above their pub. This time it was the chance of Shook Up Shakespeare, a female Shakespeare comedy duo starring Roseanna Morris and Helen Watkinson.

This show, ‘Shakespeare As You (Might) Like It’ was in fact a 400 year wake for the Bard and was an interpretation of many of his famous scenes for females. With nods to, ‘As You Like It’, ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ these girls took a playful approach to showcasing Will’s works, whilst adding a whole host of fun and games and audience participation to spice things up.

On entrance to the show we were given a sticker entitling us to act as ‘bell master’ giving us control over a bell for use in ‘the battle of skirmish wit’ to prompt gesture changes whilst Olivia and Viola engaged in sparring in Twelfth Night. Funny anyway, but with the audience participation, hilarious.

Helen and Roseanna clearly have a great connection and a shared love for Shakespeare and it came through with every minute of this piece, spreading to the audience, bringing smiles and laughter to all. Among the games, was a round of pass the parcel, which the GingerWig correctly guessed would be a quill, and a game of shake hand, not the most complex of games but certainly a most entertaining one to witness. There was also poem reading from audience members.

Accompanied by a very accomplished piano and violin duo, this was a lovely light glimpse of Shakespeare’s works, portrayed by two extremely talented actresses, showcasing a range of characters, and proving that they can do more than make an audience roar with laughter. A powerful section form Othello brought the audience to the edge of their seats at the end of the show.

Wine stools and much ado about muffin served to the audience as well as party hats and bags, made for a winning combination – a kind of cross between our favourite birthday parties as a child and the works of Shakespeare. Who’d have thought it would be such a wining formula. Thank you, girls, for rekindling our love for the works (poems as well) of good old William Shakespeare.

Highlight of the Show – Being in control of the bell, the songs and dances, and of course the final act.

WIGS 4/5

And a word on the Rosemary Branch: Another exceptional meal, Tagliatelle and Duck were on point, and a banging salad to boot. Hats off to the chef! This pub has the holy combo, great theatre and great food!!!

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