Review: The Complete Works of WiIlliam Shakespeare (Abridged)

The Prague Shakespeare Company leaves no stone unturned while plundering the bard’s work for laughs...

The Prague Shakespeare Company leaves no stone unturned while plundering the bard’s work for laughs in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). The show is equal parts highbrow, toilet humor, sharp wit, slapstick, drag show, and farce with a liberal helping of pop culture references. Occasional missteps go mostly unnoticed because the show never stands still once the initial introductions are out of the way. Save for a whirlwind of costume changes, the staging is sparse. The focus is rightly on the manic speed of the cast, who do a wonderful job with constant changes in direction. At various points, the audience is treated to a cannibal cooking show a la Titus Andronicus, most of Shakespeare’s comedies condensed into “Four Weddings and a Transvestite,” an expat’s heartfelt nostalgia for “a couch!” and the whole of Othello condensed into an ‘80s-esque rap video by a noticeably white ensemble while the only black cast member excitedly prepares backstage for the titular role he won’t get to play.


The cast and crew handle these quick changes with an apparent ease that belies the exhausting night it must be for everyone behind the scenes. Jared Doreck wheels at various points from a racist Romeo gag, to perfect mock-gravity, into a killer Hammer Slide. Jay DeYonker has the audience laughing uncontrollably with his histrionic, deconstructed Ophelia. Philip Hays also makes a strong showing in Hamlet (set in a malapropist Star Wars universe) as See-Threecio (a mashup of minor characters) dragging an Artoo-et-tu trashcan sidekick. This is the kind of raucous, all out, and just completely bonkers experience that makes for a really entertaining evening. With the play headed in so many directions, seemingly all at once, there are bound to be a few moments that don’t catch everyone, but there is more than enough to thoroughly enjoy in the Prague Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works.


PERFORMANCE INFO:


12, 13, 20, 23, October & 5, 8, 12 December, 2013 @ 19:00


PRAGUE SHAKESPEARE COMPANY


in association with Narodni divadlo


Divadlo Kolowrat, Kolowratský palác


LINK: More info and online ticket purchase



 



 


 


 


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