The ghoul of the man!

Prepare to be stunned as London Toast presents ‘Skakespeare’s Ghost’

Crazy Xmas creator Vivienne McKee likes momentous meetings. Her staging of Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen about the wartime showdown between nuclear physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg won great acclaim, and this time she has scribed one of her own … some 348 years earlier, but no less seismic.

Set in 1593, Shakespeare’s Ghost – starring McKee stalwarts David Bateson, Bennet Thorpe and Linford Brown – imagines a meeting between Britain’s most celebrated playwright, Christopher Marlowe, and William Shakespeare, a little known author of dry history plays.

Exactly two months Will’s senior, Marlowe was the ‘chosen one’. But over the next 23 years, Shakespeare would go on to pen 38 more plays, immortalising himself as the undisputed master of the English language. Marlowe, meanwhile, was murdered just months later.

But what if he wasn’t. As one of Elizabeth’s spys, McKee speculates “he may have been forced to take a new identity and live abroad”.

“If so, would he stop writing plays?” McKee asks. “Unlikely. A frontman back in London would be found and well-paid for his collusion.”

McKee is not the first to question the Bard’s identity. The Earl of Oxford’s claim was championed by the 2011 film Anonymous. Francis Bacon and a group effort are also strong candidates. But there’s no denying she’s made a compelling case that promises to be riveting viewing!