Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Cast: Sally Edwards, Philip Whitchurch.
The final moments of anyone’s life, the darkest night before the inevitable dawn, nobody knows what is said when it is discussed in private, when it is between two people who have been married for so long but age, infirmity of spirit and distance between the souls makes the journey one that is poignant and ultimately one filled with regret and doubt.
The greatest ever Englishman, the finest writer of them all, a man to whom powerful words came easily, effortlessly and with absolute precision to all, everyone except his wife of over 30 years and to whom had also lost part of herself to his agreed genius. Shakespeare, His Wife & The Dog, all are lost to time but all are remembered with heart-stopping beauty, perfectly delivered lines and the pulse of a memory that still resides in anyone fortunate enough to made sure that the works of the great man are at least quoted, line for line, threaded and woven into any conversation.
Written with great humour and unrelenting humanity by Philip Whitchurch, the intelligently presented play sees the last night of William Shakespeare’s life filled with worry for his wife, his work and the declining popularity of his plays. It is the moribund egged on by the melancholic and one allows the audience to really understand that the final words of anyone should be heeded, that they truly are trying to say what is on their minds and as with perhaps all writers, the profound often being caught lacking and dancing without form or meaning on the tip of their tongue.
The pairing of Sally Edwards as Anne Hathaway and Philip Whitchurch as the near broken Bard is tremendous, one that even in the midst of accusations of infidelity and neglect, is tempered by a deep resonating love, mirroring the protagonists own lives in amongst the final hours, one that had been separated by years and decades of fame, fortune and the words; those fine words now which escaped the poet.
Shakespeare, His Wife & The Dog is a fantastically devised play, one of intense beauty and meaning, one that like Shakespeare’s own work, sends out the message that beyond this realm lies truth, but to whom the poet cannot bring to show completely; a wonderfully imagined last dawn with the man who made the language of England all-embracing.
Ian D. Hall