Mar 21 2016 | By More

★★★☆☆      Work in progress

Wee Red Bar: Mon 21 – Thurs 24 Mar 2016
Review by Thom Dibdin

Setting off with a torrid regard for its roots, G&T Productions’ latest twist on Shakespeare is Bob, seen here as a work in progress at the Wee Red Bar until Thursday.

With Bob, the company has moved on from its straightforward adaptations of Shakespeare for a modern audience – Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream have been updated in the past. This is unabashed, full-on parody.

Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller in a previous iteration of the script at Bedfest 2016. Photo Kelechi Anna Hafted.

Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller in a previous iteration of the script at Bedfest 2016. Photo: Kelechi Anna Hafstad.

After a rather overzealous introduction led by George Prove as Epiphany Wellington Smyth who has “discovered an undiscovered Shakespeare script”, the whole thing soon calms down to within a notch or two of the kind of level which will arrive when it is truly bedded in.

However, it retains an over-frantic attention to detail that is not helped by the odd corpsing incident. That these come from those who are able to act a lot better than that, indicates the freshness of an evolving text.

This tale – full of sound and fury but signifying nothing – is certainly not told by idiots, however. There are some funky performances going on here, under the quick-witted direction of Elske Waite, with plenty of genuine laughs and a solid use of a modern (ish) music soundtrack.

The whole is set in Finland, ruled by President Siegmund who has a constant eye for a party. A catastrophic IKEA biodegradability issue leaves Siegmund overstepping his love for his Swedish neighbours, precipitating a murderous intervention from Lady Bob, the wife of his newly appointed second in command.

Ben Horner is excellent as Siegmund but exceptional as Siegfried, his son. The scenes where the red mist of anger descends with apocalyptic intent upon him – with the brilliantly underplaying Sian Davies in one of her many roles, looking on lovingly – are a real treat.

killer nuns

The power-couple pairing of the play, however, lies with Esmee Cook as Lady Bob and Rufus McGrath as Bob. Cook is splendidly despotic in her actions – calling in favours from her faithful killer nun pals – while McGrath is most appealingly poodle-like in his servitude.

Providing a Greek Chorus – and a host of minor roles – is Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller as a TV News anchor man. He has a much-needed ability to play it straight, an ability which the company as a whole could use to wrack up the comedy of the whole thing a fair few levels.

As a work in progress this is excellent stuff of the kind which will have Shakespeare buffs tittering at the many hidden – and not so hidden – references.

As a piece of comedy, however, it still needs a lot of honing. There’s plenty to laugh at and, for what it is, it works very well. Attention to the slickness in the scene changes, seriously hard work on polishing the set-pieces and less forcing of the humour will all help this no end.

But there again, that is what a four-night stand at the Wee Red is all about. Just as this has evolved from the version seen a few weeks back at Bedfest, this will no doubt evolve over the week, in readiness for an appearance at the Festival d’Avignon, dates in London and then a return to Edinburgh for the fringe.

Running time 50 minutes (no interval)
Wee Red Bar, Art College, Lauriston Place, EH3 9DF
Monday 21 – Thursday 24 March 2016
Mon 21 – Wed 23: 7.30pm.
Thurs 24: 9pm.
details and tickets from:
G&T Productions website:

G&T Productions on Facebook: GTProductionsLimited


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.