By Beki Pineda
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED)(REVISED). Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield; directed by Nanci Van Fleet. Produced by Longmont Theatre Company (513 Main St., Longmont) through Nov. 22. Tickets available at 303-772-5200 or www.longmonttheatre.org.
Note that added last word “Revised” in the title of this show. Not only are Shakespeare’s plays abridged into a 90-minute slam, but the script has also been revised to include references to “Star Wars” and “Game of Thrones” as well as other contemporary cultural touchstones. The clever playwrights encourage local companies to keep the material fresh, have improvisational interplay with the audience, and converse among themselves as they play.
One of the difficult things about reviewing theater is “seeing” each show as though for the first time and not comparing it to past productions you’ve attended. Having previously seen this script done by younger, stoner-type players, it was my expectation that Longmont’s players would follow that model. But this production proves that the brilliant writing, clever sight gags, and breakneck physical schtick do not need an added layer of drug-addled performers to be funny. This is a COMPLETE WORKS for a mature generation.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, COMPLETE WORKS strives to mention all of the comical, tragical and historical works of the Bard in a short period of time.The Histories are turned into a football game; OTHELLO is done as a hip-hop song; CORIOLANUS is converted into a cooking show. Equal nonsense greets their interpretations of ROMEO AND JULIET and HAMLET. There are many many laugh-out-loud moments in this production.
The very simple set, featuring a backdrop painted like the inside of the Globe Theatre in London, was designed by scenic artist Angela Cape. Where there is little scenery, it usually means more props. Propmaster Peg Bolan rose to the challenge of providing the mixed bag of weird objects required. Special kudos for the brilliant pie with a face looking out!
May the Bard be with you!
Wow factor: 8