THE SHOEMAKER’S HOLIDAY by Thomas Dekker

This is a delightful comedy. I recall John Gassner in Masters of the Drama writing about Dekker and using the adjective “sunny” to describe him. That about sums it up! There are no dark shadows, as there are in even Shakespeare’s happiest comedies, but that doesn’t come across as a weakness. Dekker’s world view is not sentimental, just bright and optimistic. The plot is fun and the protagonist memorable and great to spend time with as a reader. The story is handled very differently from a Shakespeare comedy and that’s kind of refreshing. Don’t get me wrong! I’m a HUGE Shakespeare fan but it’s nice to read something first-rate but different from his period. I’d love to see this performed but, unfortunately, Shakespeare’s contemporaries don’t get much time in the theater. Of course, Dekker’s verse can’t match Shakespeare’s but the songs are lovely. Even though I’ve been doing it, this really shouldn’t be compared to Shakespeare’s comedies. It’s a fine play in its own right. Highly recommended, especially if you need a pick-me-up on a rainy day.  

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