Based on lurid accounts of one of the most sensational murders in English history, this wild and dark mock Elizabethan farce tells the twisted and strangely compelling story of Alice Ard. This young wife was repeatedly thwarted in her attempts to murder her devoted and unsuspecting older husband with the help of her reluctant lover, her bumbling servants, a lecherous grocer, and two gluttonous murderers, Black Will, and Shakebag. These two find themselves lost in fog, locked out of gates, drenched by chamber pots and tormented by flatulent mice. The language is richly beautiful, complex, and often wildly funny. There is an eccentric, melancholy poetry hidden in the play which captures the contradictory wonder of Elizabethan drama as if through a series of nightmarish fun house mirrors. This play will make you laugh, will haunt you, and make you swear off blue porridge forever.
On February 15, 1551, more-or-less, Thomas
Arden was brutally murdered by his young wife
and others, an event subsequently immortalized in
Holinshed's Chronicle and later in an anonymous
play once attributed to Shakespeare. This play is
about someone else.