William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead

Billed as “A true and accurate account of the 1599 zombie plague”, William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead seemed like an entirely appropriate play to watch on Hallowe’en. Written by John Heimbuch and originally produced in the US in 2008, this version was performed by the Southside Players at Chestnut Grove School Theatre in Balham.

In Southwark’s Globe Theatre, in 1599, Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men have just performed Henry V for the first time when the playwright is visited by Sir Francis Bacon, who hopes to indulge his own authorial desires. Events bcome complicated when the latest plague begins to spread across London and the players are forced to barricade themselves in the theatre – alongside Queen Elizabeth, who with her entourage has sought shelter in the playhouse. As zombies attack, Shakespeare and his players are forced to question their lives and their art.

With plenty of action and gore, and lots of Shakespearean references and quotes, the play is intelligent, great fun and highly entertaining. It should please both Shakespeare fans and those who just want to have a good time. The set is simple but effective, evoking the “wooden O” of the Globe, and the cast give strong performances. Definitely worth a watch.

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