What happens when you let loose several of Shakespeare’s most well known characters in a psychiatrist’s waiting room? Pandemonium. With a lot of hilarity and thought provoking moments, Catriona Scott’s Antic Disposition has been rebranded and is currently performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival under the title Shakespeare Syndrome.
The irresistibly talented Rosie Beech plays Olivia, Dr Bard’s long-suffering secretary who spends the majority of the play keeping Dr Bard in line while simultaneously controlling his unruly patients. Lady Macbeth is played by Caitlin Morris who doubles as Richard III’s Lady Anne. Following on from her lead role in A View From the Bridge last semester, Shakespeare Syndrome provides Morris with the chance to demonstrate her remarkably diverse acting ability, portraying the calculating murderess and victimised queen expertly.
Oli Savage gives a wonderful performance of both the coffee addict Bottom, who is constantly being tricked by Puck and the suffering moody teenager Hamlet. Equally as versatile is Adam Spencer, portraying King Macbeth with an accurately dense Scottish accent as well as King Richard III, who has “a killing problem.” Dr Bard’s suggestion that he take up a hobby to distract him from his problem results in a hobby horse named Mr Snugglekins and a stream of jokes about Richard’s terrible parking of his car in the car park.
While in touch with modernity, Shakespeare Syndrome looks to the past, incorporating history, literature and a required knowledge of Shakespeare to create an incredibly powerful piece of theatre. Despite several slightly awkward pauses and a few slipped lines, the production highlights issues such as the problem of drugs, violence and family conflict, which can seriously affect teenagers and impact upon their development. Put in a modern context, the problems of Shakespeare’s characters sound ludicrous, though they can certainly still hit home, proving that England’s greatest playwright is as relevant today as ever.
Full of puns on Shakespeare titles and on his lines such as Hamlet’s proclamation of a pencil being “2B”, the play has the power to keep the audience amused throughout. The play comes to a poignant conclusion with a monologue by Puck remembering the late Patch Reynolds who played the role in 2015. The production team is taking up a collection after each performance in Patch’s memory for the charity BEAT of which she was a vocal advocate.
Olive Studio, Greenside at Infirmary Street