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'From Denmark With Love' is Shakespeare: shaken, not stirred

Spies, suspense, corrupt evildoers and a cunning leading man converge in a new play. But is the leading fellow a dashing secret agent or a Shakespearian prince? Actually, in Vaquero Playground’s play “From Denmark With Love” he’s both.

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Spies, suspense, corrupt evildoers and a cunning leading man converge in a new play. But is the leading fellow a dashing secret agent or a Shakespearian prince?

Actually, in Vaquero Playground’s play “From Denmark With Love,” he’s both.

“We’ve taken the story and characters of ‘Hamlet’ but we’re retelling it through the lens and the style of James Bond,” says John King, the show’s playwright and producer.

As vastly different as the two may seem, both stories actually share a major theme: espionage. Once King realized the correlation, more similarities fell into place.

“You’ve got Ophelia and Gertrude who can be taken as Bond girl-types. You’ve got Claudius, a villain trying to take over the throne. You’ve got Hamlet trying to outwit Polonius and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,” he explains.

The parody is set in Shakespearean Elizabethan times — loosely.

“There are quite a few winkingly anachronistic jokes and some more contemporary Bond references in there as well,” says King.

Sticking to the film motif, the theater company will present the show like a movie. Before every performance they’ll feature “trailers” from local theater groups showing off their productions. There’s a soundtrack, too, featuring local bands of note, including Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library, Jaggery and more.

“You can’t do a Bond show without a brand new theme song, so we’ve made a CD of original James Bond theme songs written by 10 different Boston bands,” says King.

If you go

“From Denmark With Love”
May 10 through June 1
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
949 Comm. Ave., Boston
$10, 617-353-5443
vaqueroplayground.com

 
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