Exploring Shakespeare’s comedy on a tour of East Sussex

Why will

It plays at Printers Playhouse, Eastbourne on Saturday 10 September at 7.45pm and Sunday 11 September at 7.45pm; The Mermaid Inn, Rye on Thursday 15 September at 7.30pm; Half House Farm, Hastings on Saturday September 17 at 7.30pm and Sunday September 18 at 3pm; and The Mermaid Inn, Rye on Thursday 22 September at 7.30pm.

Yellow stockings? Ass ears? Masks? Insults? Clown painting? Cakes and beer? What is it about Shakespeare’s comedies that makes them so popular even 400 years after they were written? Following the success of his one-man show Why Will? in 2021, Bowler Crab artistic director Stephen John returns to the format, this time exploring Shakespearean comedies.

“Shakespeare & Comedy offers 20 speeches and a myriad of subscriber questions to form a show that asks the central question ‘Why is Shakespeare famous for his comedies?’ “”

Stephen delves into Shakespeare’s comedies, sharing his experience directing and professionally performing Shakespeare for almost a decade.

Bicker with Benedick, daydream with Bottom and laugh with Malvolio as Stephen explores Shakespeare’s most famous and rare comic scenes. A love of laughter and literature envelops this charismatic and personal performance, he promises.

“It was a pleasure to return to a full season this year, our first since the pandemic in fact. Last year I embarked on a one-man project to celebrate Shakespeare by performing speeches and scenes from the 20 plays Bowler Crab had produced to date. After making Dream, Antony & Cleopatra and As You Like It as a kind of four-course meal this year, Shakespeare and Comedy can be considered the dessert of our tenth season. Short at just two hours (plus the interval) and sweet with some of the Bard’s greatest speeches, I’m confident the show will both entertain and impress. I presented my solo show Why Will out of necessity during the pandemic last year and I was certainly surprised when audiences started asking if I would do more shows like this. So, by popular demand, I returned to the format to end the year for BC.

“Funny, the original 2020 Shakespeare and Comedy was a four-person show designed to celebrate the 600th anniversary of The Mermaid Inn in Rye which was cancelled; this script was later adapted into last year’s Why Will prototype, but with a running time of four hours I ended up editing most of the 2020 show. Shakespeare and Comedy is made up of a large part remaining moments and therefore has its roots in two distinct types of shows and, I am happy to say, the show is all the richer for it. I loved designing this show and can’t wait to explore the concepts with the people of Sussex in September.

Tickets www.bowler-crab.com/shakespeareandcomedy or 07801 893115.