Presented by Butterfly Theatre
Reviewed 25th Sep 2020
We celebrate the return of live theatre to Adelaide with an offering from local troupe Butterfly Theatre, Shakespeare in the Bar. Holden Street Theatre proves a unique and intimate venue. With its soft lamplight, mirrors, and generously spaced leather armchairs, the space feels more akin to a welcoming lounge and the audience a collection of friends.
Director Tony Knight has skilfully arranged a series of Shakespeare’s most beloved soliloquies, sonnets, and songs into five themes (Wooing, Surmises, Ambition, Melancholy and Madness, and Death). Never before has Benedict’s playful “This can be no trick” speech from Much Ado About Nothing acted as introduction to Iago’s sinister “Thus do I ever” from Othello. Yet thanks to the charismatic and faultless delivery of the players, each scene flows seamlessly into the next.
Our players for the evening are Marc Clement, Stefanie Rossi, Bronwyn Ruciak and Benn Welford. Their on-stage chemistry and artful adoption of unusual roles cannot be praised enough. Rossi delivers Henry V’s famed “Crispin Crispian” with fierce ambition and sincerity. Speaking as Rosalind from As You Like It,Welford’s “And why, I pray you” had both audience and actors in stitches. Rossi’s death as Lady Macbeth is chilling. Clement sings “Who is Sylvia?” from Two Gentlemen of Verona while accompanying himself on the guitar.
Music by composer Alan John accompanies “Under the Greenwood Tree” and “Full Fathom Five,” bringing Shakespeare’s words to life in a very reverent way. The players beautiful harmonies and careful enunciation are to be commended.
Shakespeare in the Bar is both a celebration of the Bard and breath of fresh air for all those who love his work. Those who were able to secure seats to this sold out production should count themselves lucky.
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford
Rating out of 5: 5
Venue: Holden Street Theatre
Season: 23rd – 26th September 2020
Duration: One Hour
Tickets: $15.00 – $20.00
Bookings: Sold out
Photo credit: Tony Knight