Reduced Shakespeare Closes After Nearly DecadeDate: 22 February 2005
Contrary to the announcement earlier this month (See News, 2 Feb 2005), rather than taking a two-month break, the Reduced Shakespeare Company – with its trio of Abridged comedies – will close at the West End’s Criterion Theatre this spring. The company’s final performances will be on Sunday 3 April 2005.
The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s signature production, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) is the West End's longest running comedy, having opened at the Criterion in March 1996. (Confusingly, promotional material for the company states that the original show is celebrating its tenth birthday at the Criterion. In fact, to be precise, it’s entering its tenth year but marking its nine birthday.)
In 2003, the American troupe’s The Bible - The Complete Word of God (abridged) joined it and The Complete History of America (abridged) to run in repertoire in the West End, with the former playing on Thursday evenings, the latter on Tuesday evenings and Shakespeare running all other nights of the week.
Explaining the change of plans, James Woods, associate producer at Mark Goucher, told Whatsonstage.com: “On reflection, it did not make economic sense to take it off and then be able to bring it back in the way we would have wanted so, therefore, we very reluctantly say farewell to the RSC at the Criterion Theatre. However, this does not preclude it from returning sometime in the future.”
A separate tour of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) continues through to July 2005, and the company is now developing a new show, The Complete Hollywood (abridged), which is scheduled for an autumn 2005 premiere.
At the Criterion, the Reduced Shakespeare Company will be followed, as previously reported (See News, 2 Feb 2005), by a limited eight-week season of Amajuba - Like Doves We Rise, from 5 April to 28 May 2005. The show – which has enjoyed stints at the Barbican, Edinburgh Festival and on national tour (See News, 29 Jun 2004) – is an intimate portrayal of growing up in South Africa. It was conceived and written by Yael Farber (whose Woman in Waiting transferred from Edinburgh to the West End in 2001) in collaboration with the cast.
After Amajuba, the 590-seat Criterion, set in a prime location at the centre of Piccadilly Circus, will be available for the first time in nearly a decade. No further productions have yet been announced for the theatre.
- by Terri Paddock