We’re smitten with this local production of Shakespeare in Love

2017-10-26 12:48
Roxane Hayward
Roxane Hayward as Lady Viola de Lesseps (Photo: Daniel Rutland Manners, Supplied)

Cape Town – Putting on a paired down and intimate theatre production based on an Oscar award-winning multimillion dollar movie is not easy. I imagine that there aren’t only physical and fiscal limitations but you are also competing with a memory that some in the audience will have of a classic film.

Much to my delight, the talented cast and crew of The Fugard’s production of Shakespeare in Love rose to the formidable challenge. They did so by not only using every inch of the stage and lots of clever props and set design but also did so seemingly without breaking a sweat. Everything from the lights to the codpiece adorned costumes helped to transport me to London in the 1590s. The cast and crew worked together to make everything move smoothly. Most of the cast play more than one character and change between outfits in seconds to maintain the illusion. 

Roxane Hayward’s Lady Viola de Lesseps starts off timidly and slowly builds into the best part of the production. I found myself wanting her to take centre stage in every scene she was in. The androgynous dual role – which was most famously played by Gwyneth Paltrow in the film of the same name – could have swallowed a lesser actress and the talented performer does incredibly well. Dylan Edy as The Famous Bard is obviously incredibly easy on the eye and totally sells Shakespeare’s lovesick bad-boy appeal. The two leads' chemistry pops sometimes and always left me wanting more.   

Nicholas Pauling and Theo Landey were my favourite members of the supporting cast. They made me laugh and cry at exactly the right moments, while still being generous to the people that they were sharing a scene with.  Talk radio fans will recognise the voice of Fennyman, who is played by John Maytham. The journalist and actor is a good fit for the overbearing moneyman who brings some great laughs and keeps the plot moving. 

I would say that this is the perfect production to go watch with your main squeeze on a balmy summer night because even though it tells the story of two doomed love affairs it still made me feel like writing a sonnet. Don’t go hoping that someone has reinvented one of the most classic love stories of our time but rather go and look forward to local acting talent, set design, direction and lighting at its finest. 

Event information for Shakespeare in Love:

Shakespeare in Love is on at The Fugard until Saturday, 25 November. 

Shows are from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20:00 with a 16:00 matinee performance on Saturdays and Sundays.
Tickets from R130 to R320 and can be booked through the Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554 or through Computicket. There is a 15% discount available for the Friends of The Fugard members. 

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