Mrs Shakespeare

By Robert Nye, adapted for the stage & directed by Cheryl St. George

2nd – 4th July 2015 (Frome Festival)

What Will and Anne got up to in the Bard’s Best Bed: a novel that was turned into a radio play, then adapted for the stage with a few bits from the Bard’s plays thrown in for good measure‚Ķeasy!

Well, the three actors (Juanita Chedzoy, Stephen Scammell and Tina Waller) did make the production process easy and great fun, even if the preceding months of negotiation with agents and re-writing weren’t quite so straightforward.

A lavish four-poster bed provided the set for the main action of the play which was staged at the Silk Mill as part of the 2015 Frome Festival. Rehearsals were a bit of a challenge…Tina and Stephen frequently ended up on the floor as the blow-up bed slowly lost air with all the energetic shenanigans testing its inflation to the max. But the ensemble rose to the challenges and relished a script they could really sink their teeth into!

It was rewarding when the reviews came in to hear that the audiences had enjoyed watching the performances as much as we did putting the show on.

Cheryl St. George and the production team involved in Mrs. Shakespeare did a wonderful job in a difficult venue. This is just the sort of brave project the Festival needs and it is to be hoped that FDC will build on this seminal experience.

It was original, witty and utterly absorbing.

Tina Waller’s young Anne is a glitter-bomb of sexiness, and Stephen Scammell’s Will leaps to the challenge in these entertaining sections. Although the script betrays too much of its radio origins, for lively effrontery alone FDC deserves the praise this show is receiving. The bed is amazing too, and mandolin playing & roundels to greet the audience are a charming touch.

This is a great piece of FDC ensemble work, perfectly cast and with lines beautifully delivered. So good to be able to hear every word in a great Silk Mill setting. Steve Scammell relishes all the opportunities for playful fun in schoolboy fashion, Tina Waller’s frustrations with him are palpable and exceedingly amusing at times and you feel Juanita Chedzoy’s despair of her man as she muses so engagingly over their past. I was impressed with the beautifully dressed bed but marvelled even more at its strong construction which enabled it to withstand pulsating activity… This is a well written and well directed play. The time flew by.