From the West End production at the ARTS Theatre

Plays to See by Urvashi Vashist.

'The twenty-odd characters are portrayed with razor-sharp singleness of purpose - lightning variation and brilliant intensity every time - by Kath Perry and Rachel Ferris....But the confluence of authoritative, sumptuous certainty and the familiar, ubiquitous ambiguity inherent a dramatic or literary work that derives from - interprets and re-imagines - popular, notorious or otherwise, well-known foundational texts is made double delicious in Shakespeare's Queens...'

The Lady by Steve Barfield.

'It is an interesting historical frame as well as an entertaining one... If you don't know Shakespeare's entire work, then you may well be surprised how many strong parts for queens he wrote into his plays... Kath Perry's Elizabeth I is suitably imperious, mischievous and determined while Rachel Ferris's Mary Queen of Scots is much more girly and vulnerable, bu capable of holding her own against the cousin (Elizabeth I) who had her executed....I was impressed by the range of performances... and the banter between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots... There is considerable comedy and some moments of genuine pathos in the production...'

Australian Stage by Rose Hodson.

'Rachel Ferris and Kath Perry showed their flexibilty as actresses as they dipped in and out of 'Shakespeare's Queens' performing each role as elegantly as the last....An enjoyable and interesting take on Shakespeare's work.'

Bargain Theatreland by Tom Norman.

'Kath Perry, playing Elizabeth and many others, is the type of performer you could watch every day. The smallest look or movement, intonation of the voice or flick of the wrist tells a myriad of stories. She switches from character to character seamlessly.... Wholly believable in every role, even as the stoic yet witheringly witty Tudor Queen, she is a captivating presence. Rachel Ferris is faultless when it comes to portraying Shakespeare’s female monarchs, and a wonderfully grotesque Puck...Patrick Trumper admirably plays all the men involved. 
Kulture Kiddos by Tessa Ditner 

'Kath Perry and Rachel Ferris dive into the challenge of becoming all of Shakespeare’s queens with Patrick Trumper playing both Shakespeare and every male role. The three-person cast seems to relish the fast pace and obviously enjoy the switching of roles which they appear to manage with ease. This play humanises Shakespeare’s queens, showing them to be ordinary women in extreme situations. They are helped by the brilliant work of costume designer Sarah Cogan, who effectively changes the cast’s appearance with a simple head-dress or a wrap.  Set designer Kasper Hansen has done a beautiful job using the simple use of suspended dresses which gives the stage a doll-house feel.'

 Elizabeth Norton - Tudor Historian and writer of fabulous books about England's Queens 'I was invited to attend the West End premier of Double Bill at the Arts Theatre. The show (as the name suggests!) is made up of two separate plays which are both inspired by Shakespeare's works. The first, Shakespeare's Queens: She-wolves and Serpents, was amusing and great entertainment, while the second, The Madness of King Lear, provided a very interesting journey into the mind of King Lear himself. I would highly recommend them both.'

From the Edinburgh Fringe 

Fringe Guru by Richard Stamp

'Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen Of Scots host this entertaining canter through Shakespeare’s Collected Works, plucking out scenes which highlight the Bard’s approach to his fictional queens.  The plot’s a simple, but wonderfully effective one... quietly elegant costumes and some highly impressive acting make this a worthy contemplation of the great man’s work.

Kath Perry – who plays half of the queens, as well as penning the adaptation – lends gravitas to all her roles, especially in her character as the (real) Queen Elizabeth I.  Throwing Elizabeth into the mix was an inspired move on Perry’s part, grounding us firmly in Shakespeare’s own era and setting the historical context within which his work must be viewed....  This is, I think, a kind of Bardic amuse-bouche, designed to whet your appetite rather than leave you sated.... I don’t know what a true aficionado would make of this romp – but for those who’d like to know a bit more Shakespeare, it’s an ideal route in.

The Stage by Nick Awde

'Here is a simple but effective conceit... There are quite a few laughs as Perry and Ferris stomp off behind screens to appear a second later as quite different queens, an impressive feat when you consider that they are in full period costume... The actors are consistent in giving strongly defined portrayals... and as the scenes whiz by, they lose none of their power. Part of the success in Perry’s clever adaptation is to keep you guessing as to which character will pop up next .. plucked from a surprisingly long list of strong royal females.
Director Roz Riley marshals it all together with a discipline that maintains an element of fun, giving the actors a firm platform to bounce off and show off their Shakespearean chops. As a touring production, this has much to offer. It is as educational as it is entertaining – plus, of course, exquisitely played.

 A Younger Theatre by Chloe Stoppa-Hunt
'A dizzying, invigorating gallop through comedies, tragedies, and histories alike. “Mary and I will play all the queens”, Elizabeth announces, and they proceed to do just that, with the luckless Shakespeare suborned into filling almost every other role. The versatility that this small company of three actors displays throughout the show is astonishing. Rachel Ferris, Kath Perry and Patrick Trumper are all experienced performers – and they need to be, with this play calling for both stamina and subtlety....The play’s structure is intelligent and satisfying, and the acting highly accomplished.
Ferris and Perry drop in and out of their Shakespearean parts, often resuming the roles of the historical queens, Elizabeth and Mary, in order to comment on the scenes they have just performed. This narrative device is not only well-used in tying the episodic elements of the drama together, it also permits a consistently witty contrast between Shakespearean verse and the topical, colloquial jesting – often with a bitter edge, since Mary and Elizabeth can’t forget their shared past – that is interwoven with it... The director of Shakespeare’s Queens, Roz Riley, has put together a jewel of a show that will be eye-opening to lovers of canonical Shakespeare, while to Fringe-goers already enamoured of Shakespearean adaptations, this is an indisputable must-see.'

Fringe Review by Dan Lentell

'Heaving bosoms, catty queens and pitch-perfect Shakespearian delivery. A sexy, tempestuous romp in company with some of the nastiest women in literature.

The catty interludes... are well written and very funny. The characters’ most memorable moments from over a dozen plays are are given life by a well balanced and accomplished cast. Shakespeare’s Queens features a true ensemble with each actor being given space to shine - listening so as to be heard, reacting as well as acting... The trio seem to be enjoying themselves immensely... Even so, this is a very disciplined performance. The actors have to climb some of the most tragic peaks anywhere in literature. Some famous, and highly acclaimed, abridgements of Shakespeare have tended towards the hyper-camp, not so here.
Shakespeare’s Queens is a pitch-perfect production showcasing the best writing and acting talent available...  If Australia had an Olympic sailing team this brilliant, perhaps they wouldn’t be in second place on the medals table.'

From the Adelaide Fringe

The Adelaide Advertiser by Louise Nunn

'What could amount to a merry romp is so much more. Elizabeth (I) and Mary (Queen of Scots) squabble and point-score between re-enactments of pertinent scenes from 16 (of Shakespeare's) plays. Rachel Ferris, Kath Perry and Patrick Trumper fill multiple roles with aplomb, on a set with a few chairs and some simple props, and the actors resplendent in period costume. It's a trip back through history, a stroll through some of theatre's finest and less famous moments, a light-hearted literary analysis and a lesson in sexual politics.'

'Entertaining and insightful'

Radio 5AA by Matthew Pentelis

'It's good fun, whether you're a fan of Shakespeare or if you’ve ever wondered whether "to go, or not to go", definitely, go. This is the best overview of some of his she-wolves and serpents you will ever have the pleasure of seeing. I’ll guarantee you’ll walk out wishing it was longer.'

Australian Stage by Simon Eales
'It's cleverly done. Witty asides bite sharply and the pace rockets along as the three tightly focussed actors clearly relish each role they adopt with playful interpretation.'

Curtain Call by Lloyd Bradford Syke

'The demands on all three actors to jump into different shoes, dispositions and accents are acute, but they do it as easily as changing pyjamas... We get intrigue, murder, allure, seduction, treachery, passion, betrayal, infidelity and more, while being reminded of just how pivotal Shakespeare’s queens are to his plays and how forceful their characters... In a cohesive, attractive, easygoing manner that’s still all too rare, Perry and co reanimate Shakespeare, bringing his still vital, fantastical words back to vibrant life.'

Talk Fringe – Audience Reviews  by Reverance Payne
'These are three seriously talented actors at the top of their craft that make it all look impossibly easy... Twenty-four queens in sixty minutes. You can’t get better value than that. Go see it.'

Gillian Hunter presenter of Voiceprint Arts on Radio Three D (by email)

'Bravo and bravo! Your style is mesmerizing, thank you indeed and congratulations. Please do contact me again when next in Adelaide with any other production.'

'There really isn't any part of the show that isn't amazing... I absolutely loved Ferris's brilliant comic timing, Perry is a powerhouse on stage and Trumper completely holds his own with these two amazing ladies...
Even if you don't consider yourself a Shakespeare fan, I still highly recommend that you check this one out.'

'A thoroughly enjoyable way to explore Shakespeare and a great hour of entertainment.'

Ben Brooker in dB Magazine (Print Edition only)

'Perry's script ensures the success of 'Shakespeare's Queens'. It is no mean feat to adequately, let alone wittily, précis sixteen Shakespeare plays in sixty minutes... Bite-sized theatre at its most enticing.'

'I usually approach Shakespeare with trepidation, but am reminded early on by the power, clarity and poetry of his language that well yeah, actually there’s a reason we all studied him as children and people still care 400 years later...  Rachel Ferris, Kath Perry and Patrick Trumper should be congratulated for their skill in bringing to each vignette, though only seconds long, a range and depth of emotion that left one startled, moved, intrigued and wanting more.'

'I don’t even like Shakespeare and I found it kept my attention the whole way, great actors and fantastic use of props. Well worth a look.'

'Far more witty and engaging than your school or uni Shakespeare lectures, this is quite educational as well as being a lot of fun....Those with a shallow knowledge of the plays will still find plenty to enjoy. Final Word: Bardacious.'

'If you’re a fan of Shakespeare’s work you’ll get maximum enjoyment from the many references made throughout the show. If, like many, you’re mostly familiar with his ‘blockbuster’ Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s Queens works very well, entertaining whilst educating which is no mean feat.'

'This is a wonderfully written play. A must for anyone who likes a piece of theatre where they are both entertained and asked to think, anyone who has ever tried to wrap their head around Shakespeare, and anyone who is interested in the way people work.'