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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare - (abridged) - (Tour - Salford)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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So the RSC has returned to the provinces? No, not that RSC but the RSC as in Reduced Shakespeare Company®.

Whereas recently it took the ROYAL Shakespeare Company a year to present all of the Bard’s works the REDUCED Shakespeare Company give you the whole lot in less than two hours! And that includes four versions of Hamlet and lots of facts and figures. Mind you, the information given should carry a health warning –‘don’t quote these in your GCSEs’.

In a show full of surprises it starts where it means to go on. An American academic quickly and amusingly dispenses with the mobile phone warnings and within seconds the audience is captured in the palm of his hands. For the next two hours three actors work their socks off to ensure the audience has a lot of fun – and it does!

How to describe the experience? An evening of mayhem, madness, unbelievable energy, silliness and more than a laugh a minute.

Verbally and visually it is very clever as each actor takes on role after role with some hilarious asides and double-entendres thrown in for good measure. It is fast and furious and although undoubtedly rehearsed to the second it seems so fresh and spontaneous. The rapport between the actors and the audience is infectious.

Highlights include the rap version of Othello; the athletic race through the history plays and the Hamlet with a cast of hundreds!

Gary Fannin, Ben Stratton and Matt Rippy fill the theatre with such energy it leaves you breathless. Their talents and skills are awesome.

If you are wary of Shakespeare then this production will be as you like it. A comedy of errors that ensures all’s well that ends well and definitely much ado about something!

(This is a reduced and abridged version of the revised review which appeared in the Daily Globe
on 1 April 1613).

- Richard Woodward


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