Matt Rippy On … The complete works of William Shakespeare (abridged & revised)

The Reduced Shakespeare Company are back on tour. Following their recent skit on Sports, the Bard is back firmly in their sights as their comedy classic heads to New Brighton and Salford. We caught up with Matt Rippy to find out more about their love of sendng up Shakespeare.

The Complete Works
did a long stint in the West End. How did that feel?
We actually had THREE different productions playing in rep over NINE years. That’s a lot of pratfalls – my knees will never be the same! But it was worth the pain just to be able to say at the time that the Reduced Shakespeare Company had more shows playing the West End than Andrew Lloyd Webber – funnier too!

How do regional audiences differ to London?
London audiences are often hard to figure out because they come from all over the world – it’s hard to get a consensus on comical topical references when punters are from seven different continents. Regional audiences usually have a more tangible feeling of community – and laugh from the gut!

What do you love and hate about being on the tour circuit?
I love travelling and I love theatre, so I still get a tingle of excitement when we pull up to a theatre for a load-in. I love walking into the dressing rooms and smelling the musty smell of sweat and stinky feet. Yes, weird, I know. What do I hate – hotels without Wi-Fi! And strangely, I hate hotels that smell of old actors and smelly feet. Go figure.

What is your favourite Shakespeare play and why?
That’s a toughy. I’d have to go with Hamlet cuz it’s just SO funny.

Do purists ever heckle?
The purists and scholars tend to sit in shocked silence for the first ten minutes – by the end they always hoot and howl. Audience members are like the fourth member of our company as we involve them in every performance and they ALWAYS surprise us. Especially when you drag them onstage!

How do you want audiences to view Shakespeare following a night at your show?
After seeing us perform all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 97 minutes – audiences will never have to view Shakespeare ever again!

Why do you think his work remains popular?
Three little letters – R.S.C. Us, that is – not that other company who stole our initials… the Royal something or nuther…

Following Sports, movies, the Bard and the Bible, is there anything left to reduce?
As long as there are long, boring topics left in this world – there will be reductions by the Reduced Shakespeare Company!

If audiences are new to your work, what can they expect?
Audience newbies can expect a fast-paced, nausea inducing, guffaw causing, roller-coaster ride through the entirety of William Shakespeare’s canon – sonnets to boot! Whether he wrote them or NOT!

And for the fans?
A beer in the bar after.

What’s next after this?
The 19:04 out of Euston Station! Ciao! *phone goes dead and Rippy runs*

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged & Reduced) is at the Floral, New Brighton (7 April), the Lowry (21 April) and The Theatre By The Lake (23 April).