Written by Philip Whitchurch
Directed by Julia St John
Liverpool Playhouse Studio
27th September – 1st October 2016
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Given the title it seems apt to state that this is a shaggy-dog story. The two characters Shakespeare (Philip Whitchurch) and his missus Anne (Sally Edwards) come across as two people suffering from senile dementia. For instance, Anne is not even aware whether her dog, Crab, is alive or not. Incidentally although a dog is included in the heading it is not included on stage!
We encounter an elderly Shakespeare, at his home in Stratford, who has retired from writing, although he is reminded of his past achievements when he regularly goes through the papers they were written upon contained in a large chest.
Anne – and it does get tiresome – constantly nags him about his physical condition,that he was overrated as a scribe, he fancied young men earlier in his life, and so on.
Textual references abound – which the audience lapped up – including much ado about nothing, lend me your ears, to be or not to be, twice, and it all appears trite in the context of this stage play.
Originally intended as a solo show, with Shakespeare reflecting on his imminent death, Whitchurch made the decision to include his real life wife Edwards.
It would perhaps have been more interesting to watch that rather than this version. Particularly irritating was the use of modern colloquialisms, for example, tosspot.
One comment made about this production was that it will become a staple of A-level drama courses. I think not.