Wednesday, 18 March 2009

A new Shakespeare Play: Unearthed!

A new play by Shakespeare has been discovered, and I have been lucky enough to be one of the first reviewers granted access to this momentous work of art. The folio’s whereabouts for the intervening centuries are unknown, but the play was purchased in an auction in the late 1970s by a Japanese company, who waited for its authenticity to be verified before revealing it to the world.

Entitled The Two Gentlemen of the Mushroom Kingdom, the lost Shakespeare play is a mixture of farce and tragedy, containing elements that will be familiar to all fans of the Avon Bard.

A tale of love and loss, The Two Gentlemen… follows a pair of brothers in their quest to rescue a princess, who has been stolen away by an evil brute named Bowser. The quest takes them through many places, where they meet various other characters who try to stop them from reaching their goal. Along the way, they eat a lot of mushrooms, known to be one of Shakespeare’s favourite foods. It has been suggested by some scholars that the Bard received payment (or even samples) from the British Mushroom Alliance for every instance of the edible fungus in his plays, hence their repeated mentioning in this work.

The main characters, Mario and Luigi, are complex and emotional characters; their reactions to the trials and tribulations that they face in their quest display the depth and quality for which Shakespeare is so beloved. Take the following exchange, from Act 2, scene IV:

Mario: Does thou not know the man who stands before?
Are thine eyes so used to darkened cellar halls
Lit only by the spouting lava pools?
Luigi: Please, my eyes are dim
Mario: It’s a me, Mario!


There is an overwhelming sense of one’s ability to come to terms with disappointment in this play. Indeed, Mario learns again and again that his efforts to save his beloved have come to naught. The end of the first scene shows this in a particularly poignant fashion. As the curtain closes, Toad, a minor character, intones what may be one of Shakespeare’s finest capping couplets:

Dear Mario I know’t must be a hassle
But yon princess is within another castle

As the act finishes, we are left wondering whether our hero will be able to overcome this disappointment and fight on.

But not all in The Two Gentlemen of the Mushroom Kingdom is heavy, pathos-laden work. There is also comic relief in the form of a romantic tryst between Luigi and a strange overweight green woman called Yoshi. Mario refers to her as both ‘behemoth’ and ‘leviathan’, while she gorges herself on eggs.

The Two Gentlemen of the Mushroom Kingdom is an excellent example of Shakespeare at his best, and it’s a shame that so many people have been forced to live without this wonderful work of art due to its being lost for so long. Schoolchildren everywhere will love to read this book, with its brilliant iambs and hexameter that goes on for miles.

The art-loving world should thank Nintendo for bringing this wonderful new play to our attention. I have heard rumours of another lost masterpiece in their possession, a long-forgotten work by Plato on the subject of giant gorillas who throw barrels at people, and I can only hope that it is true.

The Two Gentlemen of the Mushroom Kingdom is out now in hardback, paperback and Wii.

15 comments:

Grant Miller said...

What about XBox 360?

BeckEye said...

It's no Much Ado About Pac-Man, but it's not bad.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Suddenly the idea that Shakespeare enjoyed mushrooms makes a LOT of stuff fall into place.

Sornie said...

I'd be more interested in a Duck Hunt opera. Sure the characters all die except the hunter but there could be the tragic love story twist because we all know how romantic ducks are.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Grant: Nah, They've got A Midsummer Night's Halo.

Beckeye: I see Pac-Man as more of a Hamlet character, what with the ghosts always following him around.

VA: Oh yeah. "And then there's this guy with a donkey head and I'm gonna call him 'Bottom'! Genius!"

Sornie: That's a great idea! There's already a cat opera, why not a duck one?

Crys said...

wow you rule. marry me.

red said...

I tried and tried, but I couldn't get past level...errr...Chapter 1.

Jillian said...

IR, this is the funniest review yet. Love it!

katrocket said...

Tears of joy, IR!

"It's a me! Mario!" always makes me laugh. I'm also stunned to find out Yoshi is a girl, although perhaps because she was played by a male actor.

Distributorcap said...

um --- can i option the movie. i think danny devito and arnold schwarzenegger could star

ad said...

Pity that Sir Alec Guinness isn't still around to immortalize this play on the stage.... alas...

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Crys: Many thanks! As for marrying me, you'd have to defeat Future Mrs Imaginary Reviewer in hand-to-hand combat, and she uses her nails...

Red: There's a chapter selection cheat; just read verses 1-4-6-3-1 (in that order) and press Start, then you'll be able to choose which chapter to read.

Jillian: Thought you'd like this one!

Katrocket: I see Yoshi as Brenda Blethen on today's stage.

Dcap: Really? I had Bob Hoskins in mind...

Ad: Ah, the gravitas he would give the role...alas indeed...

katrocket said...

I need to take this moment to tell you how much I love your NEW hot red title banner.

It's fucking delicious.

FMIR said...

Bravo to your iambs.

Soda and Candy said...

Utter brilliance. How have I not found your blog before this?