Already closed | 1h 10m | Soho/Tribeca

Shakespeare's Will

From 48 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Clever

About the show

Tannis Kowalchuk embodies the Bard's wife, Anne Hathaway, in this wry, moving, solo musical tribute. More…

Performed with dynamic theatricality and live music, NACL's production of Vern Thiessen's epic monologue delves into a complex female experience of 16th century life while drawing contemporary parallels to modern love, children, work, and loss.

Member Reviews (48)


Great acting, Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Clever
Avg Score

Great acting, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if To know some fact about William Shakespeare and his wife Anne Hathaway. Good acting ,lighting and direction. 65 minutes no intermission.

Don't see it if If you don't like a historical play with some singing and music. Has a little feminist tone to it.

Enchanting, Quirky, Historical, Lyrical, Simplistic

See it if Solo actress + musician enliven a fictional history. Peasant life, non-traditional marriage, plague, and sexism in 1580. Touching music.

Don't see it if Held my interest but a bit mundane. Not as compelling as some of the real autobios I’ve attended. Wife a saint, Shakespeare an a-hole.

Ambitious, Clever, Repetitious, Charming, Intelligent

See it if a charming, well researched one woman show appeals to you. The use of music is particularly nice.

Don't see it if heavy handed irony created by repetition annoys you.

Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if You are a fan of Shakespeare and are interested in his life with his family and wife. You enjoy a show with a historical background.

Don't see it if You are not a fan of one person shows. Although I am not usually a fan of monologues I thoroughly enjoyed this one !

Intriguing, Thought-provoking, Historical fiction, Musings on possible whys

See it if What if this happened with Anne Hathaway & Will, & that pesky Will that Will wrote intrigue you as possibilities for a one woman play +music

Don't see it if not interested in Shakespeare possibiliana, one person shows, Anne Hathaway, listening, imagining or appreciating

Dated, Rushed, Not quite up to its potential

See it if you like discovering 13 year old plays and thinking about why they were written then

Don't see it if you’re tired of domestic complaints; plays revived too early or without enough reworking to have the same impact today

Also The subject itself has potential to resonate but wasn’t quite effectiv... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if Tannis Kowalchuk is excellent as Anne Hathaway. Although historical fiction it is interesting to get a peek at her life.

Don't see it if Do not go if you do not enjoy solo shows or do not have any interest in Shakespeare’s life.

Flat, Disappointing, Oddly amateurish, Thin, Excruciating

See it if You’re up for a perky, mostly house-bound Mrs Shakespeare clumsily transitioning into other equally unconvincing characters and voices.

Don't see it if You expect to learn much about Anne Hathaway or dislike sitting through almost embarrassing self-indulgent solos, however well-meaning.

Also There’s a remarkable distance between the credits & awards given all i... Read more Read less

Fake history, Lots of errors, Great acting, Great staging, Disappointing

See it if you like solo shows (with music & quirky staging) that pretend to be based on an Elizabethan Era writer. [See "more to say" section.]

Don't see it if you're a person who values history, facts, accuracy -- or if you know a lot about Shakespeare & find biographical errors very annoying

Also Anne Hathaway [1556-1623] became pregnant, which led to marrying Shake... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You are interested in Shakespearean history and seeing an attempt fleshing out the puzzle that is Anne Hathaway.

Don't see it if You are a strict historian (I don't know where they get the evidence that his son died of drowning.)

Clever, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if you would like a feminist, alternative take on the life of Shakespeare's wife. Clever and engaging.

Don't see it if you want total authenticity or want a naturalistic performance. This is very stylized.

Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You enjoy engaging one-women shows that entertain and enlighten.

Don't see it if If you don't enjoy one-person's show or have no interest in the life of William Shakespeare and his family.

Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy Shakespeare and are curious about his life!

Don't see it if do not enjoy a one person show.

Absorbing, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if If you want to see a good story.

Don't see it if You don’t like Shakespeare.

Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Indulgent, Raunchy

See it if You want to see a good actress and musician do their best with a difficult script and childrens theatre-style direction.

Don't see it if You already know about Shakespeare's life. This play blends poetic license into some facts.

Absorbing, Dated, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You like shakespeare and you want to know how this director interpret the life of his wife Anne

Don't see it if You don't like shakespeare and one person performance.

During previews
Barebones production, Disappointing portrayal, Slow, Anachronisms/inaccuracies

See it if you love one-actor shows/like the premise of a focus on Hathaway. But where's English accent? Why the modern haircut? Was WS called "Bill"?

Don't see it if you want a polished, accurate piece. Lots of info is wrong or, at least, not established. No reference to WS's plays. Unenlightening.

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great score, Comfortable

See it if you've ever wondered about the woman Shakespeare left behind in Stratford when he went to London to make history.

Don't see it if solo shows or history plays are not your thing, or you cringe at the idea of the standard version of the Bard’s life being tampered with.

Also I’m a confessed Shakespeare nut. So Vern Thiessen’s project in “Shakes... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Indulgent, Ambitious

See it if you're interested to learn about Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway, and what it must have been like being married to him.

Don't see it if you're not into solo shows or need high production values. Also, some of the writing is unnecessarily expository and feels indulgent.

During previews
Great acting, One hander, Minimal set, Live musical sound effects

See it if You’d like to hear a possible explanation why his wife is only briefly mentioned in Shakespeare’s will from what little we know about them.

Don't see it if You are a stickler for accuracy as it distorts facts and implies she was treated worse than the historical record.

During previews
Pleasant, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you're interested in WS enough to care about his personal life. I suspect much is pure speculation, but it was an hour well spent.

Don't see it if If one-person shows are not pleasing to you, or if you are already Shakespeared out.

During previews
Slow, Disappointing, Confusing, Banal, Great acting

See it if you like one person shows and you want to learn some history.

Don't see it if you desire more action and fast paced performance. Also, don't see it if you do not like stuffy theaters.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if you like one man (woman) shows and you like to learn little known facts about a famous (or infamous) person.

Don't see it if you do not like one person plays and you enjoy plays that are fast paced.

During previews
Clever, Intelligent, Refreshing, Absorbing, Entertaining

See it if you have an interest in the life of the wife of William Shakespeare.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in a slice of life one woman show.

During previews
Ambitious, Funny, Refreshing, Thought-provoking, Clever

See it if you like one person shows and like to dwell on historical figures we know very little about, & to think about what they might have been like

Don't see it if You need sets, or don't like musical pieces just added for the sake of music. Or if you are a historical purist.

March 22nd, 2018
"What is lamentable is the lack of conflict. Most of the time, 'Shakespeare's Will' is a quasi-poetic account of a woman running her household while her absent spouse courts fame and fortune. With its relentless focus on the quotidian and Anne's penchant for bursting into bits of song, it seems d...
read more
April 1st, 2018
"Vern Thiessen certainly takes liberties in his play 'Shakespeare’s Will'...Kowalchuk shows her considerable range as an actor, and commands our attention from beginning to end...Yet for all of Kowalchuk’s skill, very little can be done to mask the script’s inherit shortcomings...Even the reasoni...
read more
March 22nd, 2018
"Where Thiessen errs is in blending a feminist portrait of Hathaway with the hard-boiled historical facts known about her and her celebrated husband. At times it gives you the feeling that you are watching two plays concurrently...What emerges is a solo show that gives you a modern, and generous-...
read more
March 21st, 2018
"Vibrant solo piece, performed with flair, sensitivity, and heart by Tannis Kowalchuk. She presents the traditionally ambiguous character of Anne Hathaway as a strong woman brimming with passion, intelligence, and mirth...Kowalchuk comes across as amiable and entertaining...She's empathetic and h...
read more

Related content