Shakespeare In Love Show Gets Standing Ovation
The film helped Gwyneth Paltrow to her weepy Oscar glory and now Shakespeare In Love is back with a stage version.
The play, which tells the story of penniless Will and heiress Viola, opened at the Noel Coward Theatre in London on Wednesday night.
It is acted out on a wooden stage upon a stage, meant to be the Rose Theatre in London, summer of 1593, with a huge cast of 28.
Tom Bateman stars as Shakespeare and Lucy Briggs-Owen as Viola and they bring an engaging and youthful energy to a script adopted from the screenplay by Tom Stoppard and co-writer Marc Norman.
Stoppard had attempted a stage adaptation but abandoned it years ago.
The credit for this one goes to Lee Hall, who won a Tony award for his long-running stage version of Billy Elliot the Musical.
While the movie focuses on the love affair, Hall has placed greater emphasis on how young Will became a great playwright and poet. The opening scene has the company of players and hangers-on gathered around a desk where Shakespeare is having trouble finishing the line "Shall I compare thee to ... "
Christopher "Kit" Marlowe, played by David Oakes as a cynical, knowing rival, offers the struggling Will the missing "a summer's day" - bolstering the theory that Shakespeare could not have written everything attributed to him.
"We have been working so hard on it. We knew that we had a show that people enjoyed and I think we were just wanting, just for tonight, out of tradition, we wanted it to really go down well with everyone watching it and they all got up on their feet so we can't ask for anything more so we are very happy, yes" said Bateman.
The show has had great reviews with the Guardian calling it "witty and warm-hearted".
The Daily Telegraph said it was "funny, often genuinely moving and generates a glow you could warm your hands by".
The newspaper gave it five stars, calling it 'the best British comedy since One Man, Two Guvnors''.