The description of “My Second Best Bed” at Surgeons’ Hall (Venue 53) appealed to me - a re-imagined story about Anne Hathaway and William Shakespeare using language from Shakespeare’s plays, sonnets and poems. Clever idea, I thought. And it did indeed prove to be a clever idea, but I found the performance very strange, with poor voice projection from some of the actors making it difficult to hear what was being said, and very odd costumes which distracted from the beauty of the words being spoken.
I’m not quite sure why many of the females were wearing what looked like a cross between a can-can and flamenco dance dress - shiny black with red flounces - and having the names of the characters they were playing written across their upper back, chest and arms. It just didn’t fit in. William Shakespeare himself was portrayed as a swaggering, drunk, womaniser, with a personalised T-shirt and long leather coat.
There were a couple of very good actors in this production, notably the woman who played Queen Elizabeth, but overall I found it a messy performance which lacked coherence.
As Shakespeare said, “The play’s the thing” but in this case is sadly wasn’t my thing.
Review by Lisa Sibbald