July 10th, 2017
S01E01 “The Play’s The Thing”
William Shakespeare is arguably the world’s most famous writer, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that there continue to be new adaptations based on his life. Will is one such retelling, albeit a loose one. I found this first episode to be filled with suspense, political intrigue, and of course a bit of romance for good measure.
Will begins as a young William (Laurie Davidson) moves to London, where he hopes to earn a living as a playwright. Soon after arriving in the city he is able to convince Richard Burbage (Mattias Inwood) to use one of his scripts in a theatre production.
However, Burbage deceives his patrons by promoting Will’s script as one written by Christopher Marlowe (Jamie Campbell Bower). Marlowe chooses to give the credit to Will after the play turns out to be a success.
Chris seems to be quite a shady character. He orchestrated events so that one of Burbage’s other writers ended up being arrested by the state. So at this point, it is unclear whether Marlowe will be an antagonist or a mentor.
Set in 16th century England, the political climate adds to the suspense. The British Catholics are being persecuted, jailed and tortured by the Protestant led government. This makes Will’s situation quite hairy because he is Catholic.
There is a budding romance between Will and Alice Burbage (Olivia DeJonge), Richard’s daughter. Whether it will come to fruition is unclear because William is married and has three kids. Bad Shakespeare. It will be interesting to see how this relationship develops over time. I am also really eager to find out whether Will’s religious affiliation will be exposed.
Because much of Shakespeare’s early life is unknown, this series is taking great liberty with the bard. As it stands, Will is a captivating romp so far.