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Tag Archives: Reduced Shakespeare Company

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

complete worksThe expression on the faces of the three actors after their opening night performance said it all: they’d put their whole heart and soul into it!

And why wouldn’t they? The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged), despite being abridged, is one of the most amusing responses to the Bard’s works ever penned. It has been entertaining both Shakespeare enthusiasts and the partners they drag along to the theatre for almost 30 years, and so far it has failed to age.

Covering all 37 of Shakespeare’s dramatic works in under two hours is no mean feat. Granted, they do cover 16 comedies all at once (because they’re all the same anyway), and they merely name a few rather than delving into them, but still, you can understand them experiencing some fatigue at the end of such a night. Truly, if any actor has earned the right to collapse at the end of a performance, it’s an actor in this hilarious show.

And this cast has certainly done it justice.

Ryan Pemberton introduces James Scott as the bumbling scholar, who in turn calls on Brendan Kelly, drawing him into the debacle. The pace begins rather more slowly than I think this piece calls for, but the three certainly picked it up. Perhaps not quite enough to hold the energy where it needs to be, but that will probably slot into place as the run continues and the cast get a better feel for audience reactions.

A great production that both needs and deserves a high quality audience!

 
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Posted by on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 in Canberra Theatre, Honest Puck, Theatre

 

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Potted Sherlock

potted sherlockSince Shakespeare’s Compleat Works were abridged by the Reduced Shakespeare Company, similar treatment has been given to a range of original sources, with mixed results. Dan Clarkson and Jeff Turner have apparently been pottering about with Harry Potter in this antipode while I’ve been in the other one, and have now turned their attention to one of my favourite series, Sherlock Holmes.

When it comes to the still-novel-ish notion of condensing a bunch of great works into an hour’s romp, character is not king. If you wanted to engage with Conan-Doyle’s characters at all, you’d be sorely disappointed as this is really all about Dan and Jeff (and the girl who doesn’t seem to be credited anywhere). Similarly if you wanted to see any of the stories, you’d leave just as ignorant (they speak of them but don’t really get around to showing them). But for a little romp, it’ll do just nicely. These three brilliant performers maintain a giddy energy, keeping the laughs rolling both within the script and without it.

I think the concept’s days are numbered. Really, nothing quite measures up to the genius of the Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged), and ultimately these are forumlaic productions. How many times can we really take a series or theme and abridge them into a farce before it becomes de rigeur? Well, I guess Hollywood, Broadway and the West End have been doing little more than that for the last couple of decades, but it hardly makes for interesting theatre after it’s been done a few times.

Nonetheless, for the time being, this is a great formula and the raconteurs can probably squeeze a few more good ones out before the Webberesque machine drains it of life and starts selling tickets for over £100. See these guys before they transfer!

 

 
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Posted by on Friday, 18 July 2014 in British Theatre, Pleasance Theatre, Theatre

 

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