Dark Meaning Mouse

In 1609 Shakespeare’s Sonnets were published with a purchase price of sixpence a copy. They were badly proof-read and riddled with errors. There are no contemporary references to them, only thirteen known copies in the world and they were never published again in the poet’s lifetime. It is as if they were withdrawn immediately after their appearance. Had they been published against the author’s wishes? Had they offended somebody?

Three mysterious characters appear in the poems – none have ever been conclusively identified; a fair young nobleman, a rival poet, and a dark enigmatic woman, whose capricious behaviour drives the author ‘frantic mad.’

Who was the mysterious ‘dark lady’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets? What was the relationship between the famous bard and his passionate, tempestuous and extraordinary muse.


‘You’ve got to have nerve to put Shakespeare the man on stage … so respect to Tony Haygarth for pulling off this portrait of the mature poet, balding, creaky and God-scared. His play is a thorough imagining of the relationship between Shakespeare and the Dark Lady of the Sonnets.’

Time Out

‘Hugely entertaining … Director Adam Meggido gives the play a candle-lit intimacy and live lute music.’

The Times

‘A carefully researched, highly poetic investigation into the mystery surrounding Shakespeare’s Sonnets.’

What’s On

‘Tony Haygarth has created a compelling and thoroughly believable scenario here … fascinating stuff … Good performances (including James Akers sad lute riffs) and Stephanie Street achieves a fine verisimilitude for a complex, intelligent Dark Lady, with a mind and forceful personality forever fully out – even – of Shakespeare’s ultimate reach.’


‘Harry Burton makes a compellingly modest genius.’

Time Out

‘Cornelius Booth delivers a wryly comic portrayal of a medical man who’s not averse to giving us his own rendition of Macbeth’s weird sisters.’

The Times


About the Production

Dark Meaning Mouse was presented by Sticking Place Theatre at The Finborough Theatre, Earl’s Court. September 9th – October 4th, 2003

Best known as a veteran of stage and screen, Tony Haygarth has twice been nominated for Olivier Awards as Best Actor. In 2003 he appeared at the Royal National Theatre in ‘His Girl Friday’ with Alex Jennings and Zoe Wanamaker and ‘Edmond’ with Kenneth Branagh.

Tony Haygarth previously collaborated with director Adam Meggido and The Sticking Place on The Lie at The King’s Head.


Cornelius Booth

Harry Burton

Stephanie Street

James Akers (lute)

Directed by Adam Meggido

Set Design by John Marsh

Costume Design by Mia Flodquist

Lighting Design by Paul Nulty

Sound Design by Robert A. White

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