Ironically it is a play about Shakespeare that is a surprising respite from Shakespeare, as Bard on the Beach presents Bill Cain’s smart and surprisingly funny Equivocation.
Forgoing the usual iambic parameter, fairies and stories of twins that usually take up residence under the iconic red and white tents each year at Vanier Park, Cain has created a thriller that casts Shakespeare and his band of Globe Theatre actors in an intelligent “what if” story that would rival anything from the equally fertile mind of Michael Hirst.
That isn’t to say that Shakespeare’s plays don’t make an appearance, they do, but Cain adds so many layers to his story that it will not only satisfy the biggest Bard fan, but opens up that sometimes inaccessible world to an entirely new audience. Sure there are the in-jokes aplenty that only a true aficionado might understand (“use twins, that always works”) and just as much humour at Shakespeare’s expense (“you’ve killed more kings than any man alive”), but there is enough here to engage even those with a passing knowledge of his work.
Photo by David Blue: Gerry Mackay and Bob Frazer in the Bard on the Beach production of Equivocation.