As you are aware, I do rather like sampling Shakespeare. The opportunity arose for me to pootle to the RSC and have a gander into the Swan theatre. The one show playing was Thomas Dekker’s ‘The Shoemakers holiday’.
I had no idea about this play, I still don’t. But it was different. Like Shakespeare’s canon, it is Elizabethan. Big tick, I imagined a mental baseline, as to what I might expect.
I had dinner-not a nice experience, Indian restaurant that couldn’t quite get what I wanted. The ventured to the theatre. The swan theatre is smaller than the Shakespeare theatre, gives it a more intimate, relaxed feel. Right down to the bench like seating. Only I would get the seat, right next to the apron corner of the stage. I got a good view of stockinged calves, and the swoosh of costume kirtle skirts.
There is no staging, lots of props are brought in and out for the scenes. There was a rather useful trap door, and a couple of columns. I guess makes it easier, if you have several plays being staged at the same time. So I waited, the house lights went down, and I watched.
First thing first, I could only just understand the language. Shakespeare, I can understand. This was slightly different. it wasn’t as flowery or poetic as Shakespeare. Perhaps that is a reflection of the ‘real life’ nature of the play. I found myself thinking, trying to work out if I had got the gist of the words. That is more about my exposure to such a play, rather than construction of the work. The fella who plays Simon Ayr is fab, as is the lady who plays his wife. Hodge is also good, perhaps though as I have seen the gentlemen who play those respective roles on the TV at somepoint. I’m not sure it was the best of stories, but the actors were good. The young king, I’m not sure if he is meant to be King Edward VI, but certainly looks like how he might have appeared. And the tudor kirtle thingies, that the ladies wore. Maybe ask Santa next year.