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C U R R E N T   P R O D U C T I O N S


Playtext Published by Methuen Drama


Who Plays The Villain?

​Written and Performed by Ross Ericson

Directed by Michelle Yim

Bassanio has been murdered and, under suspicion, Gratiano is forced to revisit his Fascist past. He was never the hero – just a minor character, the plucky comic relief – but he never thought he played the villain. 


In a challenging sequel to William Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice' we explore the politics of prejudice in the 20th Century.  Amongst the turmoil of post war Italy we read between the lines of Shakespeare's classic tale, examine the true nature of the characters, and ask just how Mussolini managed to use democracy to turn a people against themselves.

We are delighted to announce Gratiano is now published by Methuen Drama, Bloomsbury and is available in all major bookstores.

  Tour Schedule

Tue 23 May 2023   The Rotunda Theatre, Brighton Fringe    7:30pm

​Wed 24 May 2023  The Rotunda Theatre, Brighton Fringe   7:30pm

Thur 29 June 2023  Mengi, Reykjavik Fringe                        12pm

Sat  01 Jul 2023      Mengi, Reykjavik Fringe                         5:15pm

Wed 19  Jul 2023    The Rotunda Theatre, Buxton Fringe     6pm

Gratiano is available to book for 2024-25.

Contact us for a touring pack and to have a chat if you are interested in having the production at your venue.

Gratiano -Edfringe Credit-Grist to the M

Gratiano UK Tour has visited:


Upstairs at the Western, Leicester, 27 April 2017

Rialto Theatre, Brighton Fringe, 7,10,13&27 May 2017

York Theatre Royal Studio, 18 May 2017

(as part of York international Shakespeare Festival)

Rotunda Theatre, Buxton Fringe, 9 &12-14 July 2017

Assembly Hall, Baillie Room, Edfringe 3-28 Aug 2017

Old Joint Stock, Birmingham 29 Sept 2017

Bakehouse Studio, Adelaide Fringe, 24,28 Feb & 3 Mar 2018

Assembly Room, Drawing Room, 5,12,15,19 & 22 Aug 2018

Carlisle Hub, Meltham, 8 Sept 2018

The Rotunda Theatre, Nomad Fest Brockenhurst 8-9 May 2019

The Rotunda Theatre, Buxton Fringe 14 & 17 July 2019

Irving Studio, Everyman Theatre Cheltenham 8 & 10 Oct 2019

Mill Studio, Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford 28 Nov 2019

Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide Fringe 4, 9, & 13 Mar 2020

The Rotunda Theatre, Brighton Fringe 23 & 24 May 2023

Mengi, Reykjavik Fringe 29 June & 1 July 2023

The Rotunda Theatre, Buxton Fringe 19 July 2023

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016 Reviews


                                      British Theatre Guide

'Ericson gives us so much more. In a surprising and startlingly intelligent script, handily performed'



'What makes this show refreshingly different from the innumerable adaptations of Shakespeare plays, told from a minor character’s perspective, is its political engagement.'



'The play is beautifully scripted and gamely performed – and it offers views about fascism and racism that seem powerfully prescient given what’s happening in the world right now'


Brighton Fringe Festival 2017 Review





                                                       Fringe Review

'A passionate cry against racism and xenophobia in every country, in every century; it speaks to us very clearly today.'

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017 Reviews


                                      British Theatre Guide

'It's a masterful performance, a smart spectacle and a further testament to Ericson's growing magnificence as a modern playwright and performer.'


                               Broadway Baby

'Absolutely magnificent... [Ericson] is one of the most convincing actors I’ve ever seen... The production definitely leaves one with much food for thought.'

                               730 Review

'A remarkable performance... [the production] bucks the trend of terrible Shakespeare at the Fringe in impressive style'


'So often I’ve seen Shakespeare adaptations try too hard to fit a square peg in a round hole; this show is not one of them. Ericson, with his physically imposing, impassioned performance, has delivered a truly intelligent idea and an insightful show that will leave you thinking for days.'

Adelaide Fringe Festival 2018 Reviews


                                      The Barefoot Review

'[Gratiano] cleverly modernises Shakespeare and provides a different and very engaging slant on [The Merchant of Venice]'

                                      The Advertiser

'Sophisticated, satisfying production with bravura acting'

                                      Glam Adelaide

'Ericson’s elegant fable reaches out beyond today’s xenophobes and ultra-nationalists and speaks with integrity while we laugh our socks off.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018 Reviews


                                      Edinburgh Guide

'There is a much greater tragedy on the Gratiano’s horizon than a pound of flesh, and this deeply moving play proves, once again, that Ericson is a force to be reckoned with.'

Audience Review:


Nicole Duhamel (2016) - Gripping... Well worth seeing!!

Christine McDerment (2016) - Gratiano kept us thoroughly entertained with a wry look behind the scenes at the characters from The Merchant of Venice from his point of view.

Liz Brandow (2017) - Superb! We were seriously impressed, both by the writing and the performance. Very perceptive politically in a way Shakespeare would have been proud of, and expressed lucidly and vividly. Very powerful - I wish I could see it again.

Andrew Tippman (2017) - This play, and [Ericson's] performance, is a treasure and wonderful commentary on "The Merchant of Venice" and should be seen by everyone interested in Shakespeare - particularly students of the original play seeking greater insights.

Robin Bold (2017) - An excellent marriage of two themes, Facist Wartime Italy and the Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice... See this play and learn how close murder is to you.

Grahame Hunter (2017) - This is a challenging thoughtful and most stimulating play.

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