• sheilavanloo

Tragedy, Secrets and a Lovable Scruffy Mutt

Happy As Larry

Presented by Tortive Theatre and Finding The Will

Richard Curnow

In the final Bard Heads performance of the series, Richard Curnow breathed life into some of the characters involved in the lives and tragic deaths of teenage lovers Romeo and Juliet.

Our narrator is the hapless Friar Lawrence, the Franciscan monk who naively believed that by secretly conducting the marriage of the young lovers he would bring about an end to the continuing troubles between the Montagues and the Capulets. Our Friar is consumed with guilt over the deaths of the innocent couple and tries to take it on the chin when, following a brief enquiry into the incident, Prince Escalus informs Lawrence that he is to be the scapegoat and banishes him forthwith from his home in Verona to Mantua 20 miles away.

With a heavy heart Lawrence eventually rocks up at the ramshackle apothecary owned by Federico Gonzaga where, in return for earning his keep, he is offered a bed under the shop counter. Here is where Lawrence remains for the next 12 months spending his time turning the fortunes of the dismal shop round, tolerating the intolerable Gonzaga and befriending the scruffy, but lovable mutt, Jesus. As Lammas tide approaches, Lawrence is overcome with memories of past events until, during a particularly heated debate with Gonzaga, he discovers that his greedy boss was responsible for selling the poisonous draft to Romeo. Tempers fray as an argument ensues between the men, with Lawrence believing they serve to heal and Gonzaga declaring that profit is his raison d’etre; the argument intensifies to such a pitch that the raised voices alert Jesus who attacks Gonzaga and knocks him out cold.

Armed with a bottle of the poison he finds underneath Gonzala’s bed, Lawrence heads back home to Verona and disappears deep into the crypt determined to die by his own hand in the very spot where he conducted the secret marriage ceremony a year before.

The story doesn’t end there, but with hopes for a Bard Heads live tour, the twist in the tale will remain a little secret between the companies and their dedicated online audience.

Richard introduces us to a range of wonderful characters as the drama unfolds; a highly entertaining portrayal of the money grubbing Gonzaga conjures visions of a Shakespearean Boycie purveying remedies rather than 2nd hand cars, Juliet’s old Nurse is a delightful gossip while Prince Escalus is the epitome of a leader driven by politics and a sense of his own importance.

Congratulations to Jules Hobbs and Richard Curnow for writing and performing the weekly Bard Heads, they will be missed as lock down continues.

Find out more about Tortive Theatre’s ongoing writing competitions along with upcoming online events and workshops -


Discover more about Jules Hobbs and Richard Curnow at Finding The Will -


Sheila Vanloo

February 2021

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