Review: Shakespeare’s Queens: She-Wolves and Serpents, C eca

Share this article
Have your say

As WITH mothers – the subject of a previous theatrical anthologisation by this same company, Australia’s Straylight – queens loom large among Shakespeare’s female characters, and we meet a fair few of them here, mostly of the less demure variety, as the subtitle suggests.

* * *

The show’s framing scenario is an encounter, somewhere 
in the afterlife, between 
Elizabeth I (Kath Perry), Mary Queen of Scots (Rachel Ferris) and Shakespeare himself (Patrick Trumper), with the two monarchs arguing over who reigned better, in terms of ideal queenly attributes, while the Bard attempts to arbitrate by reference to his plays.

The backbone of the piece is a succession of excerpts spotlighting such diverse depictions of royalty as Goneril and Regan, Titania, Katherine of Aragon and Tamora.

The contemporary-colloquial, joky dialogue links – where Will paraphrases his plots as the queens bicker – come across as dumbed-down, and while the format might prove effective in an educational context, for existing Shakespeare fans it will come across as a distinctly Classic FM approach.

Until 25 August. Today 2pm.