The clever acting/writing team behind TV’s acclaimed Horrible Histories imagine what William Shakespeare was up to before he became a celebrated writer in this fun family comedy.
After being kicked out of a lute-playing band, Bill (Baynton) leaves long-suffering wife Anne Hathaway (Howe-Douglas) and their kids behind in Stratford and heads to London with dreams of making it as a playwright. Meanwhile, King Phillip II of Spain (Willbond) plots to get rid of Queen Elizabeth (Helen McCrory), and his nefarious assassination plan just happens to include the staging of a play.
The cast, playing multiple roles including Farnaby as the bumbling Earl Of Croydon and a dim-witted Spanish assassin, Howick as Christopher Marlowe and Rickard as spy Sir Francis Walsingham, deliver hilarious performances in this enjoyably daft tale. And while the jokes don’t always come thick and fast, this Tudor treat has just the right mix of Blackadder wit and Horrible Histories silliness to achieve that very tricky goal of being a comedy movie that appeals to the whole family.
Is Bill suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Parents should note that there is some mild bad language in the movie and some toilet humour, of a similar style to Horrible Histories.