Shakespeare For Breakfast

When Benjamin Franklin wasn’t outside flying a kite into a thunderstorm – health and safety being a lot looser in those days – he occasionally said things that people still say to this day.

For example, nothing is certain but death and taxes.

If he hadn’t died in 1774, and had lived long enough to experience the Edinburgh Fringe he would probably have added “and bumping into a bloody mime” to the end of that sentence. Or, if you were really lucky, “making sure you have a ticket to see Shakespeare For Breakfast”.

Shakespeare For Breakfast is a funny onion. It’s on at 10am, so you have to be a dedicated so-and-so to go and see it. The mornings during Fringe are traditionally the times when children are seeing people blow bubbles or make fart jokes. But there’s also this treasure of culture. A spot of Shakespeare before lunch. Marvellous.

Shakespeare For Breakfast has been running for a good few years now – 37 I think, but I could be miles out. I saw it on a poster, remember going “oh” but without really drinking in the information. I have been going to see it since I first ventured Fringeward. It’s a definite, no questions asked, booking for me each year. I love it.

There are two reasons I love it.

  1. The croissants.
  2. The cast.

Croissants first. I think I mentioned this last year, as I marvelled at the fact that someone – after however many years of wanting it to happen – sat on theirs. This year a woman took the one on the seat next to mine and buggered off with it still in her hand. Then another woman came along and sat down with no croissant as I sat and ate mine. You and I both know she thought I was eating hers.

The croissants also add an element of danger to the proceedings. Because even though people return year after year to see the show, the sight of a pastry on their seat throws them. And they can’t work out how to move it and sit down. Especially when you couple that with the hot beverage you’ve gotten as you queued up, plus any baggage you have with you. Endless entertainment abounds.

And then the show starts, so onto point number 2.

This year’s show carried the same cast as last year – Chris, John, Emily and Roseanna. Laura, as they casually throw in during the show, is off “being a Teletubby”.

These guys are brilliant, and probably my favourite Shakespeare For Breakfast cast,  for a number of reasons. For starters they’re genuinely entertaining to watch. They write brilliant jokes and painfully funny puns. They break the fourth wall more often than Deadpool. And they never, ever pass up an opportunity to make each other laugh. And with Laura off doing whatever she’s doing with Tinky Winky, they also make plenty of reference to not having enough cast members to do the show.

Watch out members of the audience sitting in the front row.

Everything has a beautiful, playful air to it. This is four friends titting about who just happen to be bringing you an off-the-wall interpretation of a Shakespeare as they’re doing it. It’s beautiful. It’s joyful. And there are callbacks that go all the way back to last year’s show.

It’s a beautiful way to spend fifty minutes in a morning. It’s like slipping into a nice sweater, or enjoying a massive hug. There’s not a single bad about it.

Apart from that woman thinking I ate her croissant.