A recently unearthed manuscript believed to be by the great Bard himself has been identified by literary scholars as an early 'Carry On' comedy.
The script is in rough draft and includes many title suggestions such as The Merry Babs of Windsor, Oh Thello, King Leer, The Crumpet of Venice and A Midsummer Night's Bottom, however it appears that the great man had finally settled on a working title of Much Adoooh Matron.
The play's characters are a mixed bag taken from many of the writer's other works and a fair amount of dialogue is included in the manuscript, although there's little evidence of a complete plot having been developed.
One scene has Henry V saying to Falstaff, 'Can this cockpit hold The vasty fields of France? or may we cram Within this wooden O the very casques That did affright the air at Agincourt?', to which Falstaff replies 'You can keep your wood well away from my O ducky, forsooth tis not a cockpit. Cheeky'.
Later, Duncan is heard to say of Lady MacBeth 'I have seen roses damask'd, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks...' to which Lady MacBeth, who is at that moment bending over to pick up a hair brush looks back at Duncan and replies 'Ooh, Saucy!'. Duncan then slaps Lady MacBeth's posterior and walks away with a letcherous 'K-yak-yak-yak'.
Gregory Doran, artistic director at the Royal Shakespeare Company is planning to put together a production based on the manuscript at the Globe Theatre next Spring. However he outlines some of the difficulties that the production faces.
"All the missing pieces makes it difficult to be certain how to interpret the characters' motivations. For example, in the scene where Richard III is found dressed as a buxom chamber maid while trying to escape the clutches of Henry VII's henchmen, does one perform Richard in the classic Olivier style, or should one aim for a more Hawtryesque performance?
Richard III: 'A horse, a horse, my kingdom for...'
Henchman: '...A horse'
Richard III: 'I KNOW!'
The final act of the play is an homage to Shakespeare's wife, and is enacted by the man himself. The closing lines appear thus:
'To rate her charms, I'd call them heaven; she spikes my heart like shot from pistols, and in her arms I lay my head, my face betwixt her ample sofa cushions'.