Sebastian Michael was inspired to write The Sonneteer after a friend posted a sonnet a day on Facebook. Reading them sequentially made Michael see them as a story, rather than individual pieces, and his play focuses on those Shakespearean sonnets known as the Fair Youth sonnets.
Switching between the present day, where a middle-aged professor (played by Michael) embarks on an affair with his young, brash student (played by Tom Medcalf), and the 1590s(ish), when Shakespeare was writing the sonnets and devoting them to the young, brash Earl of Southampton, is an interesting choice: it highlights the timeless nature of the material, which still captures the difficulties and delights of love affairs, especially unexpected and unlikely ones. But the show is still finding its feet in the transitions between the two time periods and there were definite points where I wasn’t sure who was speaking or ‘when’ we were.
Read on for the rest of the review over at Everything Theatre.