Bill – Film Review

Bill is the latest project from the brilliant and hugely talented ensemble cast behind the first five series of Horrible Histories, and Yonderland. The film is a very funny, fictional account of Shakespeare’s “lost years”, explaining how Bill Shakespeare from Stratford became the world renowned playwright.

Bill tells the story of a young Bill Shakespeare, who is imagined here as a failed lute player who gets kicked out of his band, “Mortal Coil”. Frustrated by the lack of appreciation for his talents in Stratford he heads off to “That London” in search of fame and fortune.

It’s not long before he ends up embroiled in royal plots, religious conspiracies, and betrayals.

In Bill, the cast do what they always do so brilliantly, each playing multiple roles to perfection, though each also has a main character. There’s a great chemistry between Mathew Baynton’s Shakespeare and Jim Howick’s Christopher Marlowe, especially when it comes to discussions on the finer points of comedy. Laurence Rickard is hilarious as Francis Walsingham, who takes his undercover work very seriously! Martha Howe-Douglas is Bill’s long suffering wife Anne; Ben Willbond is the delightfully devious King Philip II of Spain, and Simon Farnaby is the gullible and dim witted Earl of Croydon…. or is it Crawley?

This film is jam packed with Shakespeare, Marlowe, and even Monty Python references. There’s even the odd joke thrown in for the adults in the audience.

Some highlights in no particular order:

  1. Southampton’s hair – It’s fabulous!
  2. Croydon searching for an occupation – one for the grown ups
  3. The chatty guard
  4. Walsingham in general
  5. Queen Elizabeth’s ladies in waiting making suggestions for court entertainment – another for the adults
  6. The device for making people talk

Bill is definitely worth seeing if you are looking for a light-hearted romp that you wont be embarrassed to watch with the family. That’s what this team do so beautifully, they excel at making comedy that has a pretty much universal appeal. There’s something for almost all ages in Bill. Well worth a watch.

Below is the official trailer for the film.

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