Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

Shakespeare in Love
Marin Theatre Company
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Patrick's review of Watch on the Rhine

Adam Magill and Megan Trout
Photo by Kevin Berne
Marin Theatre Company is presenting a dazzling production of Shakespeare in Love with 13 brilliant actors taking many roles. This is an adaption by Lee Hall of the Oscar-winning film by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman. Both versions offer a blissful rummage through Shakespeare's back pages with an indecisive, self-interested young Bard struggling to compose Romeo and Juliet (which, according to the film and play, was originally titled Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter).

Shakespeare in Love is a moving love story with an amazing succession of terrific jokes. It can be appreciated much like Something Rotten!.

Young Will Shakespeare (Adam Magill), who has a serious case of writer's block on the Romeo and Ethel play, meets a stagestruck noblewoman named Viola de Lesseps (Megan Trout) and they connect, with substantial help from his mate Christopher Marlowe (Kenny Toll), to begin to fashion a love story.

The storyline is ludicrous, but no more preposterous than many of the Bard's plays. It features Molly the dog, who has a noteworthy part in the events, and a band of musicians performing enjoyable period-inflected songs by Paddy Cunneen. We never forget that we are in the theatre with a crew of fantastic actors.

Adam Magill and Megan Trout are outstanding performing Shakespeare and Viola. Kenny Tool as rascally Marlowe and Stacy Ross as astute Elizabeth I give excellent performances, as well. L. Peter Callender offers a cool impersonation of the reverberatingly theatrical rival, Burbage. Mark Anderson Phillips gives an outrageous performance as Fennyman the theatre moneyman, having bit the theatre bug himself. Sango Tajima rocks as Webster. Thomas Gorrebeeck, Brian Herndon, Ben Euphrat, Lance Gardner, Robert Sicular, and Liam Vincent in many roles give fine performances.

Jasson Minadakis' direction is sharp and incisive. Kat Conley has designed a simple but effective set with all action taking place on backstage set. Costume designer Katherine Nowacki has outfitted the characters with authentic outfits of the period.

Shakespeare in Love is the best "British comedy" since Something Rotten!, and a rip-roaring time.

Shakespeare in Love runs through December 17, 2017, at Marin Theatre Company, 307 Miller Ave, Mill Valley CA. Tickets are available by calling 415-388-52008 or visiting Their next production will be Dominique Morisseau's Skeleton Crew beginning January 25, 2018.