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Theatre Review: Shakespeare Tonight

by Tim Ferguson and Paul Wilson

Directed by Pete Malicki

New Theatre, Newtown until September 19

When attending the performance of Shakespeare Tonight at the New Theatre in Newtown, I had forgotten that it was co-written by Tim Ferguson who gained notoriety as a member of The Doug Anthony Allstars, but it soon became apparent in the dialogue.

Shakespeare Tonight is a one-act television interview show within a play. The glitzy host is ex-soapie star, Martina Fleur (Rosemary Ghazi) and her guests are William Shakespeare (Damien Carr) and his nemesis Francis Bacon (Calib James). The time period is current day and also just after ‘Hamlet’ has opened to mixed reviews.

When Shakespeare confronts Martina about Francis Bacon being on the same show, she says, “It was supposed to Francis Drake but he had a bowls game on”.

The dialogue is snappy and punctuated with several Ferguson puns, and you almost forgive him for them.

The show is held together by Martina’s musical second-banana, The Duke. In this role, the red-headed Patrick Cullen looks like he’d sunburn in front of a candle, and provides his version of witty commentary and interjections.

This bit of fun only runs until September 19.

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