Edinburgh Festival `99: Theatre Review 'Shakespeare's Bottom Pleasance'

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Shakespeare's Bottom

Pleasance, Venue 33, 2pm 0131-556 6550, ends tonight

IT DOESN'T take a very smutty mind to see Shakespeare as the man who put the anus into Coriolanus, the tit into Titania, and the raised eyebrow into As You Like It. Purer intellects, however, naturally obsessed with vice and dirt of all kinds, have perceived his entire work as a minefield of iniquity and corruption. In 1807, Harriet Bowdler published The Family Shakespeare, a compilation that puritanically purged the Bard of all sex, innuendo and godlessness, and much of the violence. Almost 200 years later, Pace Productions has brought their elaborately rude but homely account of the Bowdlers' efforts to the stage. While some jokes are inspired, there are times when the thread of double-entendre wears thin. Still, the audience revelled in the more astute lewdness. Bottoms on seats assured, then.