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To Wit, To Woo: Lessons in Love from William Shakespeare - The Jazz Cafe, Newcastle upon Tyne

Published by: Steve Burbridge on 19th Sep 2011 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge


To Wit, To Woo: Lessons in Love from William Shakespeare – The Jazz Cafe, Pink Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne

Nobody writes about love with more eloquence and understanding than William Shakespeare and nobody performs Shakespeare with more reverence and respect than KG Productions. With Peter Lathan at the helm, a man who is as renowned as an academic as much as he is as for being a theatrical producer/director, success is practically guaranteed.

To Wit to Woo is a selection of Shakespeare’s greatest love scenes that feature some of his most passionate and popular characters: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Ophelia, Orlando and Rosalinde, Petruchio and Katharina. The roles are performed with aplomb by a talented cast of ten, which includes Lathan and his co-producer Jessica Johnson.

Staged in the intimate setting of Newcastle’s Jazz Cafe, a venue which I’d never attended before, this was an evening to savour and treasure. This charming venue is an overlooked jewel in Newcastle’s theatrical crown and, with its exposed beams and centrally-staged gazebo it is the perfect place to host Shakespearean productions.

Split into three perfectly constructed sections, the production (which lasted for an hour and a half) combined forbidden love, unrequited love, lost love – well, just about everything that ever has or ever will happen in love!

It would be unfair to single out any one performer over another – they were all first-rate – therefore credit should be given to them all: Neil Armstrong; Christina Dawson; Jill Dellow; Grace Ellen; Robbie Lee Hurst; Jessica Johnson; Alex Kinsey; Peter Lathan; Steven Stobbs, and Rachel Teate.

Of course, any excellent piece of theatre requires good writing, good acting and good direction – this one is blessed with all three. Furthermore, it would be unforgivable not to pay compliment to the staging of the production, which really did create the most pleasant of ambiences. With red roses and scented candles on each table, flower petals on the floor and Shakespeare’s sonnets pinned to pillars around the room, how could anyone not be in the mood for love? Sublime.

Steve Burbridge.

Performed on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th September 2011.




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