BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

18/03/2021 - 20/03/2021

NZ Fringe Festival 2021

Production Details

Shakespeare is still seen as the greatest literary icon of the English speaking world.

No-one’s denying that he wrote some beautiful stuff. That wonderful theatrical moments happen in his plays…

But, yeah, they’re written by a man – yet again, a man’s view of the world, and of women …

“Despite temptation, no actual men were harmed in the making of this product!” – Sarah Delahunty 

Your goods?
Your chattels?
Your household stuff?
You loved not wisely but too well?
Frailty thy name is woman?
I see a woman can be made a fool if she has not the spirit to resist !! 

SHITSPEARE is a fast and furious re-framing of Shakespeare’s words to create female voices and viewpoints. 

BATS Theatre 
18th – 20th March 2021 

Director/Producer/Designer   Sarah Delahunty

Ari Leason
Maria Dussler
Parekawa Finlay
Stevie Metin 

Lighting Designer/Operator:  Isadora Lao  

Theatre ,

1 hr

If you love Shakespeare, go. If you hate Shakespeare, go.

Review by Maryanne Cathro 19th Mar 2021

When the review schedule came out for Fringe 2021, I pounced upon Shitspeare. Sarah Delahunty’s reinterpretations of Shakespeare’s work are my jam.  

Why? Because I love the words of Shakespeare, but the chance to hear them reframed in a modern context is a shock that works.    

The Taming of the Shrew used to be my favourite play.  I loved how, in a modern interpretation, the dynamic between Katarina and Petruchio could be turned into a game of wills. But really, it’s what we now call gaslighting. And that game of wills is a treacherous pathway for Kate to traverse as, ultimately, Petruchio holds all the cards. I now cannot see past this.  

Love him or hate him, Shakespeare’s influence on literature and theatre in the 21st century is perpetuating a world where men are all powerful and women are chattels. 

It is this play, and Othello, that are most represented, unsurprisingly. In both, a young wife is at the mercy of her husband’s moods, will, actions. For Kate this leads to a marriage of subservience. For Desdemona, her death. Even if you count in that Othello is also a victim of racist hate crime, Iago is still a man holding all the cards.

Bleak? Yes. But in the hands of four powerful actors, it makes for compelling theatre. The ensemble – Ari Leason, Maria Dussler, Parekawa Finlay and Stevie Metin – hit the stage with level 10 energy and keep it up. Through quiet, menacing, loud, acrobatic, violent moments they give their all. As always, Delahunty’s direction brings out the absolute best from her cast. 

English and Te Reo intertwine, each performer may switch roles in a moment. Snippets of scenes are played over and again with different interpretations. Children ape the actions of their teachers. Emelia and Iago play out their dialogue in different ways. Knowing that he kills her for crossing him strengthens the sense that a woman’s anger is always her undoing in Shakespeare’s world. 

If you love Shakespeare, go. If you hate Shakespeare, go. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council