Reduced Shakespeare Toasts Fifth BirthdayDate: 8 March 2000
The Reduced Shakespeare Company is celebrating its fifth birthday in the West End with a gala charity performance tonight of its long-running cult hit The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).
The performance, in aid of Barnardos, will be followed by a star-studded party attended by the likes of Harry Enfield, Emily Lloyd, Lesley Joseph, Nicholas Parsons, Al Murray, Sheila Gish, Annabel Heseltine, Mariella Frostrup and Imelda Staunton. Actress, presenter and celebrity cook Jane Asher is providing the birthday cake.
The alternative RSC was originally formed in California in 1981 where its members performed Hamlet to anyone who passed by on the streets of San Francisco. In Complete Shakespeare, three performers compress the bard's full canon into two hours playing time, including all sixteen comedies distilled into just one short extract, while the history plays are performed as a ball game. Complete Shakespeare, the West End's longest running comedy, plays in repertory at the Criterion with the company's The History of America (abridged).
Other Reduced Shakespeare works include The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) and The Complete Millennium Musical (abridged) which is touring to nearly 100 UK cities throughout the year 2000.
The company's mainstay, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, has had over 2000 performances and been seen by over a million people. The show is currently being performed in 12 different languages in as many as 80 different productions around the world at any one time.