BY Jove what a curious title.

William Shakespeare may have died 400 years ago, but he is alive and kicking thanks to such creative talent as Wirral-based Hand-in-Hand theatre productions.

Their work with the RSC's Open Stages has been faultless.

Director Bev Clark and her company finished off their current series of shows (winning awards along the way) with Rip Mr Shakespeare - a slick performance in the majestic Concert Room.

Wirral Globe:

Fool and Feste from RIP Mr Shakespeare. Picture: Dave Parry WAPS

A cast of sixteen actors and behind-the-stage creatives take audiences through 20 of the Bards greatest hits.

This 70-minute play features snatches of incidental music from Don McLean to The Beatles, which add even more atmosphere to the colourful costumes made by the talented cast themselves.

This is a triumphant celebration.of clowning and physical theatre.

It is April 23, 1616 and a company of clowns pay homage to the bard.

Yet it soon becomes clear there is method in their madness, to quote Will.

Keith Hill and Bev Clark add their own words to Shakespeare's canon.

Comedy is the central theme yet there is great contrast provided with moments of pure poignancy.

Wirral Globe:

April shower scene from RIP Mr Shakespeare. Picture: Dave Parry WAPS

It is easy to see why this clever concept has been an enjoyable experience for cast and audiences of all ages.

When I reviewed their excellent A Winter's Tale I praised the entire cast and crew.

I do the same again - everyone in Hand-in-Hand is a star, past and present most notably the late Val Marshall, who epitimised the talent within this magical company.

This performance was dedicated to her. A fitting tribute from a lovely, vibrant theatre group.


Five stars