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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

The Book of Will – ‘A Hilarious Love Letter To The Theatre’ - at the Octagon Bolton.

REVIEW By Steve Cooke

After the show Bill Ward [Henry Condell] enthused about Lotte Wakeham’s ‘top notch direction’ and the ‘warmth’ the company of actors had developed.

That goes a long way to explaining why The Book of Will at the Octagon is such a delight.

American playwright Lauren Gunderson’s play connects with Shakespeare’s universal humanity, reflecting the emotional rollercoaster of life - love, betrayal, triumph, and loss with lots of tears and laughter.

In the 400th anniversary year of the first publication of Shakespeare’s scripts in the First Folio of 1623 The Book of Will transports us back to the time when a group of grieving actors embarked on a project to preserve the words of their departed friend - battling against the odds - “Half the country can’t read; the other half can’t pay.”

The wonderfully talented cast of 10 play 30 different characters, among the many highlights being Andrew Whitehead’s hilarious take on a very drunk Ben Johnson, Zach Lee’s creepy, blind printer/publisher William Jaggard, Jessica Ellis’s loveably salty Alice Heminges and of course the central characters Russell Richardson’s deep-thinking, emotional, John Heminges and the superbly ebullient Bill Ward’s Henry Condell.

The creative team, headed by the Octagon’s Artistic Director Lottie Wakeham, expertly stage The Book of Will in in the round, drawing every member of the audience into the action – transporting us back in time to the world of ‘players’ in 1623.

If you are up for experiencing live theatre at its very best, then don’t miss this ‘Hilarious Love Letter To Theatre’ at The Octagon, Bolton until Saturday 3 June.

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