Words Wal Reid

Gone are the days, when picking up the order from the local fish & chip shop precariously, trying not to hear the final score of the Warriors game, use to be a mission. Tonight’s show although not a rugby game, had me apply the same mental prep. Preparing myself for tonight’s show with a whimsical air of ‘disinterest’.

I should explain that I was definitely ‘interested’, but, this was to help shield me from any spoiler alerts or what the show was about, however, I needn’t have worried – It was Shakespeare.
There’s something about spontaneous laughter that is pure, the unrehearsed nature of comedy is something, when it’s good it’s good, and so it was tonight at the Herald Theatre.

Interestingly titled The Best Plays Shakespeare Never Wrote, the show is as good as any Improvise you will see anywhere in the modern world. Based on Shakespeare (yep, that guy) and fully backed by the experienced cast of Merry Men and Women from Covert Improvisation Theatre, A Bard’s Tale explores every modern convenience (Including Soy Pork) while maintaining its Shakespearean temperament throughout.

Some standout performances from the Covert Theatre’s stable of actors including Wade Jackson, suitably chosen by the audience as the very hated ‘baddie’ and the solid Paul Paice, who’s job to round up the carrot eating swine for the Duke of Verona’s victory feast, seemed more laboursome than its worth.

Actor Mark Scott had a blinder in his multiple roles running circles around the period dressed cast, his counterpart James Ting Edward was equally lightning witted, looking very Baldrick-esque. CJ Le Mon added some spot-on feminine wile to her exaggerated daughter character, while stage- Dad Daniel Moore was hilarious as the doting old Duke, his knack mixing up names added a congenial swag to his fuddy-duddy persona.

Add to the show the Tudor vernacular of the day and you have more fun than you can shake a soy pork bi-product stick at. I can’t stand Soy Pork or Shakespeare if the truth be known, however I found myself warming to ‘fake’ Shakespeare a lot, the naff Black Adder background music and period dress personally gave the show an authenticity making the Shakespearean-ism more palatable.

You can still catch the show, its on until Saturday. Of course it starts off with the audience calling the shots, “where its based”, I wanted to shout Denmark.. “where it is” and “who the baddie is”, the hardest part will be predicting the dire end for our cast of rouges, it will keep you guessing until the bitter end, and its pretty bloody funny too.

A Bards Tale plays May 8th to 12th at The Herald Theatre, Auckland