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Marlowe's Fate

From 6 critic and 48 member reviews
Members say: Clever, Great acting, Disappointing, Entertaining, Intelligent

About the show

'Marlowe's Fate' is a comedy that begins with Christopher Marlowe’s last terrible night in London and ends a lifetime later with Will Shaxper’s last explosive night on Earth. More…

Christopher Marlowe, the most talented and accomplished playwright and poet of his generation, meets his terrible fate in a shocking and surprising confrontation in a riverside tavern in Deptford. One week later, Will Shaxper is recruited to act as stand-in for the disgraced Marlowe. These two innocent men struggle to survive while trapped in the Elizabethan Age of Machiavellian spies, slapstick puppets, and an outrageous avalanche of unintended consequences.

Part of the Fledgling Theatre Company and the Caravan Theatre Company's first annual 'Battle of the Bards' festival, honoring the work of Christopher Marlowe.

Stage Buddy

“Whether you find this story plausible or not, it works very well within the world of the play...Somewhat reminiscent of ‘Shakespeare in Love’...This isn’t a casual comedy. You’ve got to pay attention. It’s theatre that forces you to listen and think...A mid-show puppet boxing match...Ridiculous as it sounds, it somehow works - and works beautifully...The actors are wonderfully versatile...An intriguing, surprisingly enjoyable exploration.” Full Review

History News Network

"A delightful new play...Directed with great skill...Hodges tells a neatly concocted tale of escape, life in hiding and the biggest hoax in world history. He gets wonderful performances from a truly lovable cast. They almost convince you that Marlowe actually did it...It’s hard to believe, though...If Marlowe wrote all those plays and became so famous, why did he never step forward out of hiding to accept the applause?" Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“A nifty, literate mystery...The best scene is the battle of wits between Shakespeare and Marlowe, staged as a mock puppet wrestling match...Although the play ends on a dreary note, its illumination of the lives of the characters—each actor portraying multiple figures—keeps the audience on its toes and constantly surprised. Hodges’s easygoing direction and the talent of this five-member cast keep the stylized dialogue zipping along with intensity and humor.” Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“More of an argument than a play, and the characters are not much more than mouthpieces for theories that have been more persuasively argued elsewhere. Therefore, the evening makes for, as Shakespeare might state, a very long ‘two hours traffic of our stage.’ This is a pity since there is some fine writing, and there are notable passages that nicely convey Elizabethan inflections and syntax.” Full Review


"Hodges is a more accomplished playwright and literary researcher than director, allowing a great many different English accents to be used. Not only is the acting quite broad, it is also superficial and surface. All of the actors double with second appearances as other characters often following in the very next scene which is quite confusing, though most of the actors are not adept at playing two roles differently." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

“There is much confusion with the cast playing two and three roles...There was too much confusion what with Jethro Tull music playing in-between acts and the Punch and Judy show with puppets...I was lost in translation as to why much of this play was happening. Also a lot of the acting by the men seemed to border on yelling instead of layering...In need of an anchor and better direction by the playwright. Sometimes you need another eye to stage your work.” Full Review

The most compelling evidence put forward yet

See it if You are genuinely curious about who Shakespeare really was. Its funny, there are puppets, and they play Jethro Tull in between acts.

Don't see it if If you want a big Broadway musical

Humorous, Intelligent, Refreshing, Great acting, Clever

See it if you love The Bard, are curious about the controversy surrounding his existence, or just like creative theater.

Don't see it if you're extremely parochial about your Shakespeare or don't enjoy a little mischief in a show. Not an LOL comedy, but witty and fun.

Also These five actors demonstrate great range as they take on multiple rol... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Clever

See it if You enjoy wit and Shakespeare Controversy.

Don't see it if You like action films and big production values.

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, What can be wrought on a tiny stage!

See it if every once in a while your brain needs a shake up and you've already seen Stoppard. This was great fun, everyone giving it their all--Bravo!

Don't see it if You don't want to consider that perhaps Shakespeare didn't write those plays: this makes a case in Marlowe's favor, presented effectively.

Intelligent, Great writing, Ambitious, Clever, Absorbing

See it if the premise that Marlowe did not die but was exiled to Italy and continued writing with Shakespeare as his English front is interesting.

Don't see it if you are not interested in Marlowe or Shakespeare and are not willing to consider that Shakespeare did not write his plays, but Marlowe did.

Entertaining, Intelligent, Funny, Clever

See it if If you are interested in Shakespeare and have some knowledge of those times. I think this show is underrated. start of 2nd act was awesome.

Don't see it if If you are not interested in shakespeare at all, you will be bored at this show

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Clever

See it if if you like a very unusual theory about Shakespeare and Marlowe. Very witty story and wonderful acting. Don't miss the 1st scene of Act 2!

Don't see it if if you are a purist about Shakespeare and don't like any controversy about him. You won't like this play if you have no humor.

Also The seats in this studio theater have no cushions so bring your own if... Read more Read less

Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You enjoy conspiracy theories concerning the bard or just a fan of the era. The play is well acted and well written. Well worth a visit.

Don't see it if you hate Shakespeare or prefer contemporary plays.

Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Clever

See it if You are interested in the Marlowe/Shakespeare controversy, and are open to "what if"; a clever presentation, fun and well researched

Don't see it if you do not like historically oriented plays which poke fun at Shakespeare, and challenge your beliefs, even with puppets to add humor.

Also I totally enjoyed this play, even though I'm no Shakespeare or Marlowe... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You've any interest in Elizabethan England, or in Shakespeare or Marlowe.

Don't see it if Conspiracy theories leave you cold.

Also Len Rella was a standout in a dual role as a hired assassin and as Ben... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Intelligent, Clever, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you are intrigued by the “Shakespeare stand-in for Marlowe” theory and enjoy talented acting/writing albeit no climax or arc after Act I.

Don't see it if you reject that Shakespeare didn’t author works attributed to him, dislike silly pointless puppetry, want resolution/climax or shorter show

Absorbing, Refreshing, Clever

See it if you're interesting in Shakespearean conspiracy and like British acting.

Don't see it if you dislike old English speech and care for an evening with dazzling oomph.

Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you are accepting of a Marlowe/Shakespeare connection. You enjoy a show despite one poor act. You can follow multiple rolls per actor

Don't see it if you need your shows to be 100% perfect. Good acting is not enough for you. You aren't willing to think outside the box.

Very good acting, Clever, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent (even w/the puppets)

See it if you like Shakespeare &/or Marlowe. Gets to the premise much better than "The Shakespeare Conspiracy", although beats it like a dead horse.

Don't see it if you don't know (or care) about the never-ending Marlowe vs Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or any of their work. Very good acting by most.

Also To ponder: an always welcome exercise.... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Entertaining, Wordy, Uneven, Ambitious

See it if You're interested in a clever exposition of the Marlowe/Shakespeare theory, with an odd diversion into puppetry. Overall fun and interesting

Don't see it if You don't like talky, somewhat repetitive explanations of unproven theories, or small theatres with uncomfortable seats.

Ambitious, Confusing, Quirky

See it if You like historical references and puns. The show is different in its writing and presentation, see it if you like non traditional plays.

Don't see it if You do not like old English speech, or are seeking a full on comedy.

Funny, Interesting

See it if If are a Shakespeare fan and are interested in the history or legend of how he did not write his plays.

Don't see it if if you do not like cozy settings for a play, you do not like period pieces or you are not particularity interested in Shakespearean history.

Entertaining, Fine ensemble and voices, Well researched and written script, Clever, Ambitious

See it if A well-written script, capable actors, fine costumes and the barest but serviceable lights and set in another Marlowe/WS dust-up is enough.

Don't see it if You've no knowledge of nor interest in, Marlowe, Shakespeare or who might have written what.

Also A convincing and erudite script (without the weight that implies) by P... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Disappointing, Clever

See it if Act I was a really well written, well acted mini playlet about "what if Marlowe lived and wrote Shakespeare's plays?"

Don't see it if Act 2 fell apart for me; there was a verbal sparring match with dolls and in order to lionize Marlowe, it demonized Shakespeare.

Excruciating, Quirky, Slow, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if You like reviewing theories about who actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

Don't see it if Like dynamic plays with a point. This had potential but . . .

Ponderous, Preposterous, Arch, Pedestrian, Earnest

See it if you are a Shakespeare or Marlowe completist.

Don't see it if you are expecting a cogent argument that Marlowe authored Shakespeare’s work, or an entertaining play that proposes as much.

Also Tonight in the Studio at Theatre Row, I had a feeling of not quite déj... Read more Read less

Quirky, Slow, Indulgent, Disappointing, Dated

See it if You are patient listening to a different take on the bard in Shakespearean prose. The woman and the man who played the printer+ were fabulou

Don't see it if You’re looking for a big book musical. The premise was interesting but very slow moving especially the smaller man who was awful.

Ham acting sinks this as a play while too many unsupported "what ifs" sink it as a convincing case. less matter, more art badly needed here.

See it if You already believe the theory that Marlowe wrote the plays that were attributed to a not-too-bright Shakespeare.

Don't see it if You have a low tolerance level for bad acting and weak arguments.

Fluffy, Slow, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if You love works of Shakespeare and you are familiar with the theory that Marlowe may be the real author of the plays.

Don't see it if You do not like English drama and/or puppetry within a play.

Also The playwright is a scholar on Marlowe and Shakespeare and has a forth... Read more Read less

Slow, 2 wonderful actors/2 horrid/1 both, Disappointing

See it if You are interested in "who wrote Shakespeare" riffs. Its a very small room and requires proportional energy.

Don't see it if You dont like broad acting. You have little interest in conjecture that can be neither proved nor disproved.

Cast & Creatives (8)