One of the most impressive feats of lockdown art-making that we saw during the pandemic was writer-director Damien Ryan’s independently-financed film Venus & Adonis.

Shot in a Surry Hills garage while Sydney’s theatres were closed by COVID, it drew on the private lives of William Shakespeare and the poet Emilia Lanyer – whom some scholars suspect to be Shakespeare’s muse, if not a collaborator – to explore creativity, authorship and a woman’s place in Elizabethan society. It also delved into the deeply personal aspects of works by the Bard, including his poem Venus & Adonis, first published in 1593.

As a screen drama, it was engrossing and frequently illuminating, but its real place was palpably upon the stage. Two years later, here it is, in the flesh.

Anthony Gooley and Adele Querol in Venus & Adonis. Photo © Kate Williams

And fleshy it certainly is. Richly layered, at times densely written and encompassing terrible tragedy and humour, Venus & Adonis is a full meat-and-three theatrical feast. Just when you feel full to bursting, out comes another platter.

Bringing back most of the lead cast from the film, led by Anthony Gooley as...