A weekend lesson in the perils of adapting Shakespeare to make him more relevant. The Jew of Venice, performed in 1701, was George Granville's attempt to bring the Bard up to date. It was the only version performed in almost the entire first half of the 18th century, when nobody used Shakespeare's original texts. Granville's deservedly forgotten adaptation of The Merchant of Venice was given a staged script-in-hand reading on Sunday afternoon at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds and I found it a fascinating experience. The cast, who are busy doing eight performances a week of Shakespeare's original version, gave their verdicts on Granville's adaptation in a post-show discussion. We in the audience (including several dozen Friends of Shakespeare's Globe) all had fun, but Granville wouldn't have enjoyed it. Nobody disagreed when one actor said Granville understood nothing at all about creating dramatic tension. There was an interesting discussion about whether his comic version of Shylock was more anti-semitic than Shakespeare's original. The general consensus was that it was. The Theatre Royal is a beautifully restored gem of a small Regency theatre, the only surviving building of its type and period, and the third oldest working theatre in the country. Since it reopened in 2007 (it was a barrel store for the Greene King brewery for most of the 20th century and they still own it) it has also staged the melodrama Black-Eyed Susan and other long-lost works. I hope the good folk of Bury St Edmunds do their wonderful theatre justice. Hats off to director Abigail Anderson and the theatre's artistic director Colin Blumenau for staging this reading, which will be followed on 4 March by Nahum Tate's Restoration version of King Lear, and on 28 April by Hamlet Travestie, a spoof written in 1810 by John Poole. The Restoring the Repertoire season also features a week of performances beginning on 29 June of The Poor Soldier, a one-act musical comedy by John O'Keefe from 1783, which apparently was George Washington's favourite play.