Shakespeare (in love) comes to the West End in his 450th year
‘All the world’s a stage’ is the now well-known quote which starts off one of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes, and in this anniversary year for the iconic playwright it could well be amended to ‘All the world’s his stage’. William Shakespeare is perhaps the most celebrated playwright in the all of history and his role in the world of literature is unparalleled to any other. His name is world-famous and his plays have been translated into every major language and performed all around the globe – Shakespeare’s Globe has just set out on an all-new tour of Hamlet which will visit every country over the next two years.
The tour was launched yesterday (23rd April 2014) to coincide with Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. His work may not appeal to all tastes, but it is undeniably classic, influential and absolutely timeless. Everyone knows the name of William Shakespeare (unless you’re Joey Essex perhaps) and the birth of the revered Elizabethan wordsmith is certainly a cause for celebration, and indeed it was, with the day being widely reported by the media and countless numbers of Shakespeare-themed events held all over the UK, especially in the town of his birth, Stratford-Upon-Avon. It was also marked by an announcement from Disney and Sonia Friedman Productions in regards to the upcoming stage adaption of Shakespeare in Love.
The original film version, written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, was a romantic period drama which portrayed Shakespeare as a promising, but struggling young writer in search of a muse. He finds her in the form of beautiful noblewoman Viola De Lesseps and the two embark on a passionate forbidden love affair which inspires him to write ‘the greatest love story of all time’, Romeo and Juliet. Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow starred as the star-crossed lovers in the 1998 film, which won seven Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards and three BAFTAs and was given the accolade of Best Film in each.
Tom Bateman and Lucy Briggs-Owen have previously been named in the lead roles of William Shakespeare and Viola for the forthcoming stage production, which has its world premiere at the Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End on 23rd July 2014 (previews from 2nd July). The 450th birthday of Shakespeare proved to be the perfect time however to announce the rest of the cast for the play.
In other main roles will be Ian Bartholomew as Tilney, Tony Bell as Ralph, Anna Carteret as Queen Elizabeth, Paul Chahidi as Henslowe, David Ganley as Burbage, Richard Howard as Sir Robert De Lesseps, Harry Jardine as Sam, Abigail McKern as Nurse, David Oakeswill as Marlowe, Patrick Osborne as Mr Wabash, Alistair Petrie as Wessex, Doug Rao as Ned Alleyn, Ferdy Roberts as Fennyman and Colin Ryan as John Webster. The remainder of the company is comprised of ensemble members, which includes Daisy Boulton, Ryan Donaldson, Janet Fullerlove, Sandy Murray, Timothy O’Hara, Thomas Padden, Elliott Rennie, Charlie Tighe and Tim Van Eyken, who will also be musical director. Gaiety will play Crab the dog.
Shakespeare in Love was adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, the English playwright and screenwriter who was behind the hit film and subsequent musical adaption of Billy Elliot. It is directed by Declan Donnellan and designed by Nick Ormerod.
William Shakespeare was a master of the written word; his work is continually studied in schools and performances of his plays can be found somewhere in the world at any given time. He invented over 1,700 words which are commonly used today and gave us such wonderful phrases as ‘a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave’ and ‘a lily-liver’d, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue’ – glorious insults which form part of that memorable rant from Kent in King Lear. The work of the genius playwright has appeared in the West End untold times and audiences still flock to see his plays, but soon they will be coming to see not a Shakespeare play but a play about Shakespeare. The man has already contributed so much to the world of theatre and now he is set to give just a little bit more through Shakespeare in Love, which was a delight to watch on screen and lends itself perfectly to the stage.
By Julie Robinson @missjulie25
Shakespeare In Love
Noel Coward Theatre
Booking From: 2nd Jul 2014
Booking Until: 25th Oct 2014
Thursday 24th April 2014