Five Reasons to Catch… The Upstart Crow, Apollo Theatre

The stage show based on the comedy series is back in the West End. Here’s five reasons why we think you should catch it…

  1. Ben Elton’s script: as you would expect from Ben Elton, the script is sharply funny. What I loved about the production is the way in which it blends aspects of Shakespeare’s plays (in this case King Lear and Othello) but adding contemporary ideas into it that make it relatable for anyone who appreciates Shakespeare or contemporary comedy. It also keeps hold of many things that fans of the tv show enjoys but without making it feel completely like a carbon copy of the show.
  2. The cast: it is difficult to imagine anyone bringing to life the personality of William Shakespeare – but David Mitchell does it so brilliantly and confidently. A blend of sarcasm, pompousness adding to the humour, while his delivery of key Shakespearean speeches is spot on. But he is equally well supported by Gemma Whelan as Kate – whose frustration of not being able to perform on stage in that era is brilliantly portrayed. Meanwhile, Danielle Phillips as Judith and Helen Monks as Susanna (Shakespeare’s daughters) are given a real chance to shine throughout their scenes together.
  3. Director Sean Foley’s production: Sean Foley is well known for his ability to direct comedy – just think of his production The Ladykillers for example. Here, the delivery of punchlines the physical comedy is brilliantly executed and never overdone (well…except for the puffling pants of course!). There is certainly plenty here to keep the audiences entertained.
  4. The costumes and set design: I also loved the use of set and costume in this production – everything felt authentic for the era. Many of the costumes have been lent by the Royal Shakespeare Company and they feel suitably lavish enough, while the set is easily adaptable – taking audiences from Stratford to London with ease and on some occasions with humour.
  5. The bear: as one of the most famous stage directions written, there is a lovely running gag involving a bear that enhances the hilarity of the scenes it is involved in. So make sure that you keep an eye out for it!

By Emma Clarendon

The Upstart Crow continues to run at the Apollo Theatre until the 3rd December.

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