It’s a question we’ve all had to ponder at some stage. Once you’ve spent $50,000 on a master’s degree studying Shakespeare, how do you put that knowledge to good use? For Gillian English, the answer is She Wolf.
The Canadian comic is so well-versed on all things Shakespeare that she is able to play with the characters and script, making them come alive – funnier than ever before. This is Shakespeare as you’ve never seen it before – ironic, modern and sassy. Littered with modern-day references and frustrating truths, this show is as relevant and eye-opening as it would have been in 15th century London.
Gillian English is touring comedy festivals around the world with this one woman attempt to tackle the patriarchy. That one woman being a historical Queen who is tired of being misrepresented in Shakespeare’s Henry VI. Without breaking character, Gillian presents multiple interpretations and translations, pointing out things you’ve never noticed before and poking fun at history and the patriarchy.
It’s not something that I’ve ever seen done before. Which is part of its appeal. It’s obvious that Gillian English is passionate about the show and the subject matter – you can feel her enjoyment of it at every moment. It’s infectious. I’m still not convinced that She Wolf wasn’t born as an excuse to dress up, perform Shakespeare and rip into something that she loves to hate. But if that’s not a reason to create a comedy show, I don’t know what is.
She Wolf is a no holds barred approach to dismantling all the men who support and encourage the suppression of women – from Shakespeare to Trump. Covering everything from Shakespeare’s script inconsistencies to why not to put him on a pedestal, her show is illuminating, enjoyable and very funny. Gillian’s obvious investment and enjoyment in the subject matter means that she is a pleasure to watch as you find yourself engaged in a subject you didn’t know much about five minutes prior.
This is a show for every forward-thinking man or woman who wants to be educated and entertained. Or learn about Shakespeare.
Elli de Ryckman de Betz is an avid comedy lover and consumer on the Sydney circuit, whose most recent claim to fame is writing The Plus Ones’ Guide to the Sydney Comedy Festival for the second year running.
She Wolf may have run its course but Gillian English is staying in Australia! Make sure you follow or like her on Facebook to keep up to date with her coming events and shows and have her funnies sent straight to your Facebook feed.
Read The Plus Ones’ Guide to The Sydney Comedy Festival and visit often to see all our reviews.
Disclaimer: The Plus Ones were guests of Gillian English.
Image credit: Sydney Comedy Festival.