PODS Presents ‘Shakespeare in Love’: A Review

Love, loss and theatrical tribulations.

Penarth Operatic and Dramatic Society take to the Paget Rooms stage in their latest production, Shakespeare in Love. And I was lucky enough to be invited to come and review it.

Based on the academy award-winning movie, this is a story of the great wordsmith himself. We follow young William Shakespeare as he struggles with his latest play. As the deadline approaches and the pressure builds, he only grows more desperate until he happens upon his latest muse. The beautiful and feisty Viola, who’s passion for poetry and theatre drives her to do whatever it takes to be in Will’s next play. But as their new love sparks, the chaos around them threatens to tear them apart. Can love prevail and will the playwright be able to finish his latest masterpiece?

I knew little about this play going in so I was ensure of what to expect, but I was simply amazed. And credit must go to Joshua Ogle who portrays William Shakespeare himself. Not an easy role to take on but Joshua commanded the stage and gave an incredible performance. The whole of the PODS cast were nothing short of hilarious, having the audience in stitches throughout. The physical comedy and character chemistry onstage was very impressive. Particular scenes with Joshua and Dan Burrows, who plays Kit Marlowe, were particularly assuming, and their scenes quickly became audience favourites.   

The rest of the cast showed their talent, each giving a wonderful performance and taking on their characters whole-heartedly. Laura Day as Viola De Lesseps, Peter Harding-Roberts as Henslowe, Bob Tucker as Fennyman, Richard Griffiths as Lambert, Chris Glynn as Frees, Nigel Crick as Richard Burbage, Kelly Thompson as Mistress Quickly, Philip A.J May as Edmund Tilney, Mary Gardner as Queen Elizabeth I, Sally Mathias as the Nurse, Amanda Matthews as Molly, Jim Lediard as Ralph, Austin Beasley as John Webster, Rob Jenkins as Wabash, Brian Smith as Lord Wessex, Harri Herniman as Ned Alleyn and Gethin Glynn as Sam.

The entwining of a contemporary play style with the classic Shakespearean elements was very interesting and was something I’d hadn’t seen before. And the staging and costumes were a marvel, such impressive detail that really allowed the audience to immerse themselves into the story and gave the play a whole new dimension. A great credit goes to the creative team, with a special shoutout to the costume team, Kim Herniman, Sue Owen and Emma Townend, the Set Designers Andy Bradshaw and Alex Wilson, and incredible Direction by Alex Wilson.

Whatever doubts people may have about amateur dramatics, PODS has once again blown them out the water. This play was another prime example of the level of talent and dedication this company has to their work. For any fans of Shakespeare and comedically dynamic theatre, this is a show you have to see.

Shakespeare in Love will be at the Paget Rooms until the 23rd March and tickets are selling out fast so get yours now.

And make sure to keep an eye out for the upcoming performances of The Producers (15th – 18th May) and Bugsy Malone The Musical (4th – 6th July). You can find out more on their website.