Produced by the talented team behind CBBC’s hilarious Horrible Histories, along comes Bill, a comedic tale detailing the ‘lost years’ of William Shakespeare, the famous bard and playwright,which plays out as a wonderful tongue-in-cheek farce suitable for all ages.
Invoking all manner of slapstick, innuendos, farce and even some light-hearted satire, Bill weaves a slight but entertaining yarn, detailing just how ol’ Bill Shakespeare rose to become a leading English playwright, whilst also thwarting a dastardly plot by King Philip II of Spain to assassinate Queen Victoria (Helen McCrory).
The central sextet, consisting of Simon Farnaby, Matthew Baynton, Martha Howe-Douglas, Ben Willbond, Laurence Rickard and Jim Howick, are all utterly superb, boasting great chemistry and comic timing whilst playing multiple roles. The jokes come thick and fast, with numerous sight-gags and background humour upping the joke count higher and higher. Particular highlights include a cross-dressing assassin, the Earl of Croydon’s woeful attempts at playwriting, and a brilliant and inspired moment involving the central villain’s attempt to dramatically stab a knife into a table for effect!
Lovers of irreverent British comedies like Monty Python and the Blackadder series, as well as fans of the Horrible Histories TV Show and the team’s other successful Sky One comedy Yonderland, will adore this light and frothy comedy, whether they be aged 8 or 80. It lacks historical accuracy and proudly so, instead choosing to push the funny button over and over and over. And yet, there is still much in the way of intelligence to the humour, whether it be a gag about real-life spy master Sir Francis Walsingham’s ludicrous attempts at deep cover or simply a quick dig at men playing women in the Theatre. It’s the kind of humour that will have kids (and adults) hopefully reaching for the nearest history book or website after they’ve finally stopped giggling to themselves!
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