“…passages have been lifted from As You Like It, Measure for Measure, and even Othello. Now, at the close they borrow the bittersweet finale of another early comedy, Love’s Labour’s Lost. As it’s not every week that I get to withhold the ending of a Shakespeare play, I won’t say precisely how this works. But work it does.”

Robert CushmanThe National Post, August, 2012.

“I fell in love with Toronto’s newest company the minute they walked onto their makeshift stage in Withrow Park… Youth, charm, intelligence and talent were all in abundance before more than a few minutes had gone by and I found myself sitting on the grass wearing a kind of silly grin for the next 90 minutes.”

Richard Ouzunian3.5 out of 4, The Toronto Star, August, 2012

Two Gents (2012)

Adapted by Andrew Joseph Richardson with Jonathan Seinen and Brendan McMurtry-Howlett
Directed by Brendan McMurtry-Howlett

Two childhood best friends fall in love with the Duchess’s daughter. Romance, betrayal, deceit, and cross-dressing.

The friendship of two passionate young men turns to bitter rivalry as they compete for the hand of the Duchess’ daughter, and a savage act of betrayal threatens to tear them apart. All the romantic complications of the young lovers are thrown into further chaos with the meddling of a pair of wise-mouth servants, an over-protective mother, a wealthy pompous suitor, a troupe of musicians, a band of misfit outlaws, and one great big, slobbering mutt.

Shakespeare’s original play The Two Gentlemen of Verona is perhaps best know for it’s puzzling, lackluster and misogynist ending. So we had an idea: re-write it. Borrowing text from Shakespeare’s other plays and sonnets we crafted an entirely new ending that empowered the female leads, and brought the play back from shameful banishment and establishing Shakespeare in the Ruff’s unique approach to shedding new light on 400-year-old plays.

Preview Article

Read Brendan McMurtry-Howlett’s in-depth interview with NOW Magazine about launching Shakespeare in the Ruff!:
Theatre preview: Summer Shakespeare returns to Withrow Park with a western take on the Bard’s The Two Gentlemen Of Verona


Jesse Griffiths

Jesse Griffiths

Adrian Morningstar

Adrian Morningstar

Lesley Roberston

Lesley Robertson

Kaitlyn Riordan

Kaitlyn Riordan

David Patrick Flemming

David Patrick Flemming

Trudy Weiss

Trudi Weiss

Andrew Joseph Richardson

Andrew Joseph Richardson

Creative & Production Team

Brendan McMurtry-Howlett

Andrew Joseph Richardson & Jonathan Seinen

Kai Masaoka
Production Manager

Lauren Pietrowski
Set & Costume Design

Natasha Bean Smith
Stage Manager

Emma McKenzie Hilliera

Lois Adamson & Marcel Stewart
Youth Development Coordinators

Daniel Daley

Photo Credit: Karl Ang