Imogen Daines as Viola and Piero Niel-Mee as Will Shakespeare

Shakespeare in Love

Malvern Theatres


The scene is set, Verona again, as new playwright Will Shakespeare writes his latest masterpiece Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter.

The plot thickens thankfully as Shakespeare in Love gets underway at Malvern Theatres leaving you in a spin literally, as the stage is constantly spinning round and round, but as the love story unfolds, with plenty of wit, charm and fight, the amazing cast set to wow and titillate the audience into a frenzy of applause.

Eleanor Lloyd Productions and Theatre Royal Bath Productions present this play based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard which has been adapted for stage by Lee Hall.

Charismatic Pierro Niel-Mee as Will Shakespeare begins the first Act struggling with writer’s block and only with help from Kit Marlowe, (Edmund Kingsley), and inspiration from Viola de Lesseps, (Imogen Daines), is he able to create his little known sonnet Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.

Viola is desperate to appear on the London stage so auditions for the play Mercutio with a fake moustache and a hat covering her blonde locks to disguise herself as the opposite sex and Will is overjoyed that he has found his Romeo.

However as rehearsals develop Viola’s father Sir Robert de Lesseps, (Giles Taylor), agrees with Queen Elizabeth, (Geraldine Alexander), that Viola is to marry the depraved Lord Wessex, (Bill Ward).

Ward plays Lord Wessex with an evil glint in his eye and tries at every moment to ravage poor Viola despite her only having eyes for the local playwright of the moment. Ward is dastardly and manipulative with just a hint of menace and a touch of humour. Queen Elizabeth on the other hand just simply wants a comedy with a dog in it, specifically a dog.

The second Act begins beneath the sheets at the climax of Viola and Will’s shenanigans where a comedy of errors and mistaken identities lead to the death of Kit Marlowe and the birth of Romeo and Juliet.

The fight sequences by Renny Krupinki are masterful and entertaining and particularly when Ned Alleyn, (Rowan Polonski), attempts a sword fight in extremely tight trousers and when Will uses a fake dagger of no consequence.

Bringing all the chaos together the tragedy is accompanied by original music composed by Paddy Cunneen and on stage musicians Toby Webster and Rosalind Steele set the Elizabethan scene.

From a back-stage point of view the outstanding cast navigate the moving stage seamlessly and effortlessly with just the right amount of humour and charisma. The costumes are fabulously flamboyant and Viola and Will have great chemistry and stage presence. This brand new production of the hit West End play is a joy to watch from start to finish.

At Malvern Theatres until Saturday October 27. Tickets are on sale from the Box Office 01684 892277 and online at

Emma Trimble


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