The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is back and standing out from the crowd will be the critically acclaimed play My Own Private Shakespeare, fresh from a sold-out, three-week run in Toronto, Canada and now heading for Willow Theatre, Greenside at Riddle’s Court for the show’s debut UK engagement from 5-27 August 2022.
Written and performed by renowned actor Justin Hay, My Own Private Shakespeare draws on some of the greatest and most powerful passages from Shakespeare to ask: Is it possible to find peace with the impossible paradoxes of life? Five-star reviews for the show in Toronto included: ‘Magnificent acting’, ‘Outstanding…’, ‘A spellbinding performance’, ‘Superb blend of Shakespeare and personal story’ and ‘A must-see show’.
The play marks Hay’s return to Scotland in his first performance since his breakout starring role in Rob Roy during the Glasgow Cultural Capital Of Europe celebration in 1990. The actor is also known for his performance in the 2017 filmed adaptation of Richard III: Unto the Kingdom of Perpetual Night.
“From a single fateful phone call taken reluctantly from the toilet, a Shakespearean actor finds his world collapsing around him. As the story unfolds, the unforgiving realities of his shattered life intertwine with Shakespeare’s radiant, immortal text, while the man teeters dangerously close to the brink.”
Presented by the Modern Classic Theatre Company, My Own Private Shakespeare is helmed by award-winning Canadian director Mona Zaidi, known for her ground-breaking modern adaptations of classical theatre, including Julius Caesar: In Shallows and In Miseries and Richard III: Unto the Kingdom of Perpetual Night. The latter was selected as Best Film at the 2007 Shakespeare Film Festival by Academy Award winner Kenneth Branagh who described it as “excitingly ambitious… and full of imaginative talent”.
In a recent interview with The Quinntessential Review Hay was asked whether a transfer to the Edinburgh Fringe was always on his mind.
He responded: “Well, I was born in Dundee. I went to high school in St Andrews, I went to university in Glasgow. The play reference, Scotland all the way.
“In fact that is gonna be interesting from my perspective, to see the references flip over from Toronto referencing Scotland to Scotland referencing Toronto.
“There were two other times in my life that I was invited to the Fringe, and I didn’t go, I was young, I thought it’s all ahead of me. So it was always there, no always something I was going to do… but when Mona said we should take it over, I said ‘yes’.”
My Own Private Shakespeare runs at the Willow Theatre, Greenside at Riddle’s Court, Edinburgh from 5-27 August 2022 (5-6, 8-13, 15-20, 22-27 August) at 10pm. Performance time is 10pm and suitability is 14-plus. Prices range from £10-15.