Anthony Gooley and Adele Querol in ‘Venus and Adonis’. Pic Kate Williams
Dinitha Serevirathne, Adle Querol, Christopher Tomlincon in ‘Venue and Adonis’. pic Kate Williams

This is a complex, historic, fun, costumes-to-the-max, play-within-a-play, bawdy Shakespeare-inspired theatre. At only $54 for the price of a ticket, it’s the best value in town.  This is a wonderful production, not to be missed.

The play VENUS AND ADONIS is based on Shakespeare’s poem, Venus and Adonis, one of his first poems. It is filled with delicate eroticism and written for a prospective patron. London was besieged by the Plague. Theatres were closed. Shakespeare turned to writing poems. Playwright and director Damien Ryan has the Bard stealing many of the best parts of the poem from his mistress, Aemilia Lanyer.  She was, in fact, the first woman in England to ever publish. In Damien’s play, it is Queen Elizabeth who supports Aemilia’s desire to be in print. 

Alerts: Shakespeare purists might be put off by the play‘s contemporary quips and suppositions about Shakespeare’s life. Too bad for the purists – they would miss out on a great production. And, for those who find nudity or simulated sex an issue, beware that Venus pursues Adonis with vigour, but these scenes don’t seem graphic or steamy. 

It is probable that Shakespeare was in fact and as presented in this play not only promiscuous, but also part of a love triangle in which all three parties contracted venereal disease. The standard Elizabethan treatment for syphilis was mercury. As the saying goes, “a night with Venus, a lifetime with mercury.” It is the smell of mercury Anne Hathaway detects on her husband that tells her she must send him away. 

The theatre company is Sport for Jove.  Why name a Shakespearean troupe that? Is it because in ‘Othello’, Iago rattles Othello by making disrespectful comments about Desdemona, focusing on her sexuality and promiscuity? He says she is ‘sport for Jove”.

All the actors are perfectly cast and wonderful performers. Anthony Gooley plays Shakespeare. Adele Querol plays Aemilia. Jerome Meyer plays Adonis and has the classic ‘Adonis’ body. Belinda Giblin plays Queen Elizabeth. She is magnificent in the role – loveable, dominating, progressive, powerful. Please let us see Belinda in these strong roles more often.

LOCATION: Seymour Centre, Corner City Rd and Cleveland St, Chippendale 

BOOKINGS: or (02) 9061 5344 

TICKETS: Full $54 / Concession $42 / Under 35, Groups 8+ $39 / Preview $45 

AGE: Recommended for ages 16+; parental guidance recommended for those under 16. Contains adult themes, nudity, sex scenes, coarse language, haze smoke, and loud or sudden sounds. 

DATES: 29th September – _21st October 2023 

TIMES: Mondays and Tuesdays 6:30pm; Wednesdays to Fridays 7:30pm; Saturdays 1:30pm & 7:30pm 

Featured image : Max Ryan , Christopher Tomkinson, Oliver Ryan, Kevin Macisaac, Anthony Gooley, Adlee Querol,Jerome Ryan (left to right) Pic Kate Williams