By Jeremy Miles
This one-man theatrical tour de force finds actor and playwright George Dillon exploring the life and times of outrageous 16th century nobleman Edward de Vere, believed by some to have been the true author of Shakespeare’s plays.
In 90 minutes of highly physical theatre Dillon brings to life the scandalous story of de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, philanderer, swordsman, adventurer and incorrigible hot-head.
His spellbinding performance recalls how de Vere made love to Queen Elizabeth, killed a servant, abandoned his wife, got his mistress pregnant, was wounded in a duel, sailed the high seas, was captured by pirates, fought the Armada and was thrown into the Tower of London.
Perhaps his biggest achievement though was to follow all this up by simply disappearing into well-heeled obscurity financed by a Royal stipend of £1,000-a-year - a huge amount in Elizabethan days.
Whether he really penned the Shakespeare plays seems unlikely. However Dillon’ s suggestion that he may have provided the inspiration for Hamlet seems a little more credible.
It’s certainly an intriguing thought and just one of many fascinating insights and theories thrown up by this compelling one man play which is directed by Denise Evans and features original music by Charlotte Glasson
*The Man Who Was Hamlet plays Lighthouse, Poole, again this evening (Friday March 4)