Reviewed by on    Summer theatre 2014  

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Photo. Andrew Alexander.  David Warburton.

David Warburton faced a mammoth task in taking on the role of the player in Brian K. Stewart’s one-hander.

The premiere two years ago received many well-deserved accolades. In addition, the performance of Greg Kramer, the actor who originated the role, gave the impression that this was THE way to play the part. Sadly, he passed away. His death added a further level of emotional difficulty for an actor presenting The Player’s Advice to Shakespeare.

No matter, Warburton appears to have decided. In the current production of The Player’s Advice to Shakespeare, now on its way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, he offers a totally different and equally mesmerizing character. His actions are more reasoned as his player remains the great actor telling a story of his time, explaining how he, a former member of Will Shakespeare’s company, happens to be in the Tower of London, waiting to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

He tells of the Midland Revolt of 1607 — the peasants’ reaction to the gentry enclosing common land to pasture their sheep. (The Enclosure movement was at its height during the 18th and early 19th centuries in Britain, but it had its roots in the earlier uprisings.) He explains his anger against Shakespeare, his one-time friend and mentor, for kowtowing to the establishment and not supporting the people through his writing.

As directed by John Koensgen, with technical support from Sarah Waghorn, Martin Conboy and James Richardson, Warburton is a memorable and stylish Player in a second first-class production of The Player’s Advice to Shakespeare.

The Player’s Advice to Shakespeare

By Brian K. Stewart

New Theatre of Ottawa

Director: John Koensgen

Set/Costumes: Sarah Waghorn

Lighting: Martin Conboy

Sound: James Richardson

The Player…….David Warburton