Theatre review: No Holds Bard

Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: No Holds Bard at Assembly Roxy (Venue 139), reviewed by Susan Mansfield

Hamlet comes off stage in his doublet and hose, but he has indeed “lost all his mirth”. Even as his friends call his answering machine to congratulate him on his performance, our actor is in his bedsit with a gun at his head. It turns out that his personal meltdown will take a very Shakespearian form.

Leading New Zealand actor and director Michael Hurst brings an old-school mastery of Shakespeare to this comedy one-man play by Natalie Medlock and Dan Musgrove.

Even as our actor prepares to descend into oblivion somewhere between here and Elsinore, Macbeth shows up. He’s a proper wee Glaswegian hardman, and he thinks Hamlet needs to get a grip. Then there’s Othello, wanting an earnest heart-to-heart, and a starving King Lear.

The writers make use of every opportunity for a Shakespearian joke, while Hurst proves himself as adept at physical comedy as he is at the Bard, particularly when his various dramatis personae start to fight each other.

This play is a clever set-piece for anyone who knows Shakespeare but it would be wrong to expect emotional depth or much by way of plot development.

MORE INFO: No Holds Bard is at Assembly Roxy

Originally published in The Scotsman

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