Saturday, September 22, 2018

“Shakespeare and His Mistress”

Shakespeare and His Mistress, by Paul Kauffman, directed by Cate Clelland,

For Australian Players ACT Big Band Room, ANU School of Music, 8pm, September 22, 28 and 29.

Phillip Mackenzie

Kirsty Budding as Emilia Bassano

'HYPERBOLE' is hardy a strong-enough word to describe the self-indulgent promotion of Shakespeare and His Mistress by its author, Dr Paul Kauffmann.
The piece it can hardly be called 'a play'is based on the theory that Shakespeare had a relationship with the historical  poet Emila Bassano who, it is posited, collaborated with him on some significant works and who was possibly the Dark Lady of the sonnets.
With the exception of the beautiful costumes (on loan from John and Aylwen Gardiner-Garden) and, possibly, the music (of which there is quite a lot) composed by David Pereira, there is very little to commend this production.
Its script is so stilted and manufactured that few actors, and none in this cast, could make it work, even if one could hear it, or see much of the action, beyond, say, row two in the unforgiving concrete box of the Band Room of the School of Music.
The prospect that this is the first of a proposed triptych is not something that I look forward to.