Reviewed by Carolyn Watts
‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)' is an affectionate and irreverent distillation of the tragedies, comedies, histories and sonnets of the Bard.
Playing at The Genesian Theatre, it offers up delights such as ‘Titus Andronicus' the cooking show (‘ladies fingers' take on a horrifying culinary meaning) and ‘Troilus and Cressida' demonstrated by a mechanical dinosaur.
Jessica Gray, Jamie Collette, and Barry Nielsen, give their all to this show that is energetic, amusing, and inclusive-some of the audience end up on stage, all of the audience participate in some way.
The vigour and inventiveness of the cast is limitless; from their rugby commentator's perspective of Shakespeare's Kings, through ‘Romeo and Juliet' as a tale of cross-dressing, to performing ‘Hamlet' in 48 seconds.
With tales such as Four Queens and a transvestite, Barry comments he "didn't know Shakespeare was such a perve"; the three players deliver every imaginable twist (including comparisons to Neighbours) to ways of understanding The Complete Works.
‘Othello' Rap and the cast's take on ‘Macbeth' (skittish accents and golf clubs) are highlights of their talent for the absurd.
While talk about vomit plays an endearing part in most acts and front row seats sometimes seem closer than comfortable, this is a thoroughly enjoyable show.
It runs for 90 minutes plus interval and is playing at The Genesian Theatre until August 8. (Audiences are informed the show includes some use of strobe lights and smoke machine).