Miss Shakespeare (Musical Works in Concert/Coldwater Road) 2013 SummerWorks Review

Miss Shakespeare (Coldwater Road) is one of the few shows being presented by Musical Works Production. Musical Works in Concert is a selective series of original musicals during the SummerWorks Festival. The shows are for one night only, so buyers have to snatch up the last tickets for their last entry Paradises Lost before it is too late.

The show on August 12th, Miss Shakespeare, placed itself back in the times of the great bard when women were not welcome on stage. Instead, male actors would dress as the female characters in place of having flesh and blood women play those parts. Miss Shakespeare has Shakespeare’s daughter Judith take up the task of bringing a female voice to theatre by having secret meetings with her friends at the Cage Tavern. Together they show women can write, act, and be just as good as anything Mister Shakespeare penned.

The show flips the 1600s theatre convention of the all-male cast by having an all female cast. Even the male characters, such as Thomas the Tavern Owner and Judith’s father, are played by the actresses. It could be a way to save time and space on the stage, but it feels more like a wink and a nod to the audience. It makes the scenario of 1600s theater seem more ridiculous than hopelessly frustrating.

This show was delightful to watch. Sometimes Shakespeare gets a bad rap, since almost every audience member had to force their way through his plays and sonnets during high school. Miss Shakespeare was up against a lot of deep-seated bitterness, but won out for being light-hearted and deliciously immature. Nothing will make you appreciate Shakespeare like a rousing song about asses.

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