Edward Bond's play Bingo, which focuses on the last months of Shakespeare's life, captures many of the beauties and horrors of the poet's age. At one point, Shakespeare's character describes "women with shopping bags stepping over puddles of blood" on the streets of London. At another, he stands under the body of a beggar woman who has been hung from a gibbet, and remembers watching bear-baiting. "The baited bear … tied to the stake," he says, as if reliving the scene. "Its dirty coat needs brushing. Dried mud and spume. Pale dust."
Paris Gardens, where bears were baited, is in Southwark – just around the corner from the Young Vic, where I've recently been directing Bond's play. Now one of the few visible remnants