The idea of condensing over 100 hours of the plays of William Shakespeare into 100 minutes of pure comedy is considered to be one of the unprecedented feats in the modern world of stage performance. Rapidly spreading throughout the world, this unique concept will undoubtedly thrive for as long Shakespeare’s work remain popular. In a action-packed, roller-coaster and breath-taking production, three overly-energetic actors offer an insanely packed yet entertaining version of “the complete works of william shakespeare. Originally conceived as a production for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this reworking of Shakespeare’s masterpiece for the MTV generation has transformed into one of the world’s most entertaining and sensational comedy shows.Order now
The absurd lengths which it is has boldly taken in the process of interpretation is why I believe it stands out among so many others plays. This was can be seen even before the play had started. When I first entered the theatre, I immediately noticed the backdrop which was compressed of tapestry loud with titles in graffiti. I thought it looked like a one-dollar production set-up produced in a kindergarden school. Furthermore, the Elizabethan stage wear that was teamed with hose in electric hues and Converse sneakers caught my eyes the moment they hit stage. At that very instant, I realized that this was a formal shakespeare play. It was wild comedy!
Among many other literary devices, the electronic toy dinosaur and the disapproving looks on the actor’s face were thrown together with hysterical results. Also the knowing asides characteristic of Shakespeare transformed into crazy segments of audience participation like portraying Ophelia for the Nunnery Scene. Usually, whole phrases and sentences which are deliciously preserved but delivered with pathetic urgency, have effectively become part of the collective consciousness To my great relief, one the most famous and respected soliloquy from ‘Hamlet’ was delivered successfully ending in tremendous applaud, and at the same time without losing the awe and gravity with which it was originally conceived.
The strength of the cast is in their over acting as they happily quote and misquote Shakespeare at breakneck speed. One of the actor’s work that I found most significant was Rob Carlton, Berynn Schwerdt and Tim Schwerdt showed off the ‘power of three’. They acted as themselves (present day scholar-entertainers) acting out the dizzying range of characters that peoples the bard’s whimsy. Rob possessed a maturity that lent a certain comic irony when he played youthful roles. With a brilliant albeit incomprehensible treatise on Shakespeare, he spoofed the intellectualisation at work in scholarly circles.
Berynn, the tallest of the three, and looking the most ridiculous in his red tights and carefully groomed moustache, made us laugh uncomfortably along with him as he and his ‘butter stumps’ lackey whipped up a batch of human brain pie (or something like that). You can guess which play that alluded to! His best moment belonged to his overwrought take on Hamlet. Every psychotic spasm worked! Initially, it seemed as though Tim was lagging behind his fellow thespians in energy. But it was all a set up. As the playful, too eager, and usually misinformed student of 17th Century life, Tim farted and vomited his way to become a most offensively endearing cross-dresser.
One of the OMG moments was the extremely inventive: Titus Andronicus, which was played as a TV cookery show complete with almost high fives. Supposedly, the original version of the story was a gruesome and gut-churning. However, the way it was performed was comical and hilarious. I simply couldn’t help laughing as I watched the poor guy get his throat sliced. But later on, I felt kinda guilty. Another OMG moment was when the cast used and abuse a hapless audience who was dragged reluctantly on to the stage to perform as Ophelia. The embarrassment and humiliation I witnessed on her face was unbelievable! I couldn’t help feeling how luck I was for being seated in the middle row instead of the front row. At the same time, I thought the method breaking the fourth wall had a lot of interactive and Brechtian potential that I could use in my own drama coursework.