'Shakespeare in Love' is the fictional account of Williams Shakespeare’s love affair while writing 'Romeo and Juliet'.
The play is currently at running at The Fugard Theatre and is hands down the best theatre production gracing the Cape Town stage this year. Everything from the directing, costuming, lighting, sound design, acting, choreography and set design is spectacular.
I can’t even pick standout actors because everyone brought Meryl Streep-level acting to the play.
The lead actors, Will Shakespeare (Dylan Edy) and Lady Viola de Lesseps (Roxane Hayward) especially have such magnetic chemistry that from their first interaction, you believe in their love.
This is also one of the few productions where the accents were consistent throughout the play and this is thanks to accent coach Robyn Scott – who also plays Queen Elizabeth. It might seem like a small issue, but having consistent accents not only creates an immersive world, but also indicates that the director takes note of the finer details.
Director Greg Karvellas’s attention to detail and timing is something I have not seen since watching Wicked on Broadway. He really transports you into the 14th century and gets exceptional performance from his actors.
This play is also a great example of how having a wealth of acting experience can make a stellar play. All of the cast members in this production have multiple stage and film credits to their names, and it shows. When even your ensemble members in a production make the most of their one or two lines in a play and are clearly milking their moment for what it’s worth, then you are clearly doing something right.
And while the play, for the most part, is billed as a romantic comedy, there are still emotional moments within the play. The set design, along with the sound and lighting, furthermore just push the spectacular manner of the production over the edge.
The lighting provides the perfect mood, while the sound is in perfect balance with the volume of the actors. There is never a glitch or feedback from the speakers and sound designer David Classen deserves an award for what he accomplishes in this play.
Furthermore, I don’t know where Birrie le Roux and Widaad Albertus sources the costumes from, but everyone who wants to do a period-piece play should hire them. The costuming in Shakespeare in Love is something you would expect from a Broadway or West End level production.
The play’s pacing is also phenomenal. Usually, while watching a play that is longer than two hours, time tends to drag, especially in the third act. Shakespeare in Love only gets better and it feels as if time flies by. If you are a lover of great theatre productions, then Shakespeare in Love is not to be missed.
Every aspect of this play is phenomenal and deserves multiple awards once its run is done in Cape Town. Director Greg Karvellas has quite honestly produced a masterpiece and I can’t wait to watch his next production.