Billy Shakes: Wonderboy! (Review) | The Yorkshire Dad of 4

Billy Shakes: Wonderboy! (Review)

Have you ever tried reading Shakespeare? Honestly, have you? Well, I have and I find it tedious! Plays are meant to be performed in my opinion, not read. Getting kids to read Shakespeare is even harder, but inspiring them to be interested in his work is easy – take them to see Billy Shakes: Wonderboy! at the Shakespeare Rose Theatre in York.

Disclosure: I was given tickets to go and see this show by the theatre company in return for a review on my blog. This, however, doesn’t influence my review and this is very much my honest take on the whole experience.

In my previous post, I reviewed our visit to see The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre. Yesterday we were back again (and slightly dryer) to see their show just for children.

Billy Shakes: Wonderboy! is production by a 3 piece ensemble aimed squarely at kids. It is described by the production company as such:

Bursting with live music, puppetry and a wealth of brilliantly barmy historical inaccuracies, this 50-minute fun-filled show is performed in the ‘groundlings’ courtyard of the theatre delivering an interactive and engaging experience in a stunning historical setting.

Billy Shakes: Wonderboy! (Review) | The Yorkshire Dad of 4

Shakespeare for kids

So this show is listed as being for ages 4+. We took our two younger girls, Delilah and Verity, who are 10 and 9 to see this. They loved it. Helen and are approaching 40 and we loved it just as much.

This isn’t a Shakespeare play. This isn’t a reworking of a Shakespeare play. This is a totally made-up story about Shakespeare as a boy discovering his talent for storytelling.

There is lots of music, jokes and audience interaction too.

A 3-piece ensemble

Victoria, Harri and Alyce are the 3 multi-talented actors that take on various roles throughout this 50-minute show.

I take my flat cap off to them for their excellent performance. The day we went the audience was thin on the ground, most likely due to the horrible weather forecast that threatened rain and thunderstorms. Us Yorkshire folk laugh in the face of lightening and went anyway!

The production is put together by Wrongsemble, a West Yorkshire based theatre company. They specialise in creating work for young people, schools and families. I didn’t know about this at the time of seeing the show, but I did detect the dulcet t’uddersfield tones from Alyce during the show! Ah, it felt like being home again.

Billy Shakes: Wonderboy!

The cast of Billy Shakes: Wonderboy! | The Yorkshire Dad of 4

Is it worth seeing?

In a word – YES!

We love the theatre anyway in our house so live performance is always going to be right up our street. But this show is aimed at kids and they do it perfectly. 

The performers are so great with the kids and after the show, they take the time to pose for photographs with them.

When is it on?

The show starts at 10:30 AM on Tuesday, Thursdays and at weekends right through until 24th August 2019.

Where is it on?

The show is performed inside the Elizabethan-style Rose Theatre. The theatre is right next to Clifford’s Tower in the centre of York.

The stage for Billy Shakes: Wonderboy! | The Yorkshire Dad of 4

Ticket prices

You have two choices – the groundling (floor) or seating. Bring a picnic blanket and get on the floor, up close to the action.

Floor tickets are £15.40 each with a family ticket (4 people, at least one child) si £44. Seating tickets are £17.60 with a family ticket costing £55.

Tickets are sold via TicketMaster and York Theatre Royal box office. Watch out for those booking fees! If you can, head to the box office in the village area outside the theatre and buy direct.

Getting there

York is serviced by plenty of public transport and car parking options. We chose to use the park and ride service from Monks Cross on this visit to save the hassle of driving into the city early in the morning. The York park and ride service is excellent and children travel for free with an adult and it costs nothing to park your car either.

Clifford's Tower, York | The Yorkshire Dad of 4

I hope you get the chance to go and see this fantastic little show with you young ‘uns this summer – you won’t regret it.

Thanks for reading.



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