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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged: Revised (tour - Norwich Playhouse)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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 It's difficult to know where to start – let alone finish – when attempting to assess The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged: Revised. The three creator-performers – Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield – whirl us through the canon as promised with the audience laughing its collective head off and struggling gamely to keep up.

It all takes place in front of a curtain which (more or less) shows an Elizabethan playhouse. The three performers are masters of the quick costume change as a (comparatively) leisurely whisk through Romeo and Juliet – which is book-ended for the second half of the performance by Hamlet. This is succeeded by all the history (not forgetting King John and "the king in the car park") and Roman plays. Of course, there's also a hilarious mish-mash of the comedies, the part-authored plays and even the sonnets.

One highlight is Othello done in rap style. But it's the Hamlet which is the true show-stopper, with hapless audience members inveigled onto the stage as Freudian and a whole host of other interpretations are tried-out. The play-within-a-play done with glove puppets in a sort of Punch & Judy booth is a particular delight, as is the corpse-scattered last scene.


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