Every year, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival presents a set of amazing plays that are not only a pleasure to watch but make you fall in love with theatre. Bard’s 2019 presentation of Daryl Cloran’s Shakespeare in Love evokes so many emotions – love, laughter, heartbreak, confusion, frustration and satisfaction. The power of the romantic comedy is such that you will want to watch it twice or maybe even thrice.
Young Will Shakespeare (Charlie Gallant) has writer’s block. The deadline for his new play is looming and he’s in desperate need of inspiration. And then he finds his muse – Viola de Lesseps (Ghazal Azarbad). She’s Will’s greatest admirer and will stop at nothing (including breaking the law) to appear in his next play. Will’s love for Viola quickly blossoms but their road to romance runs into plenty of complications.
We have only watched plays written by Shakespeare but a plot that revolves around him is simply a delight to watch. And when you throw in a romantic angle to it, the enjoyment is two-fold. Though the play revolves around Shakespeare’s struggle to find inspiration for his play, the different roles that Viola plays – as a muse, wealthy daughter, theatre-lover and aspiring actor – definitely needs a mention. For me, Viola was the central figure – she is ready to take risks, bring out the best in herself and in the one she loves, and also ready to let go when she knows that sacrifice will result in greater good.
The talented cast, set designs and costumes, comic moments, and the addition of a dog simply enhance the play. Shakespeare in Love is playing on the BMO Mainstage at Bard on the Beach until September 18. Tickets at https://bardonthebeach.org/2019/shakespeare-in-love/#!/view/buy-tickets
Photo: Ghazal Azarbad & Charlie Gallant, clicked by Tim Matheson