Reed Martin, Austin Tichenor and Dee Ryan, who perform and direct, whizz through a thousand years of history in a hundred minutes, from the Dark Ages to the Information Age, from Beowulf to Baywatch. Highlights include an explanation of why Galileo loves to watch 'Heavenly Bodies', inventor Thomas Crapper crooning 'Flush Your Troubles Away', and Leif Ericson and three fellow Vikings forming a barbershop quartet to sing the 'Four Norseman of the Apocalypse'.
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. The British base for the company is at the West End's Criterion Theatre where The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and The Complete History of America (Abridged) perform in repertory. The former is the West End's longest running comedy.
In The Complete Works..., which toured last year to more than 75 towns across the UK, all 37 of the bard's works are condensed into just 97 minutes. An earlier tour of another Reduced Shakespeare production, The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), which starred Martin and Tichenor and also ran in the West End, provoked accusations of blasphemy when the company's signature irreverent approach was applied to biblical material.