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The Complete World of Sports (Abridged) (tour - Norwich, Playhouse)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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There’s a great deal of sport around at the moment – and that, of course, includes the Olympic Games. Rather too much for some of us perhaps, so it’s good to see such national obsessions viewed through a satirical prism. Take the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete World of Sports (Abridged) for instance, which performs exactly what the title promises.

We are whirled through time and place, from cavemen to commentators with audience participation, local references and topical quips thrown in for good measure. It balances itself between stand-up comedy and comedy theatre (that can be quite a thin, not to say treacherous, line) and keeps most of its audience in a constant state of laughter and applause. Voluntary – perhaps unwanted but not unexpected – audience participation is dealt with skilfully.

Clever props with quick costume and wig changes give it all a deceptively simple air. The timing is spot-on as co-writers and director Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor join with Matt Rippy in knockabout, spontaneous improvisation and even some spots of a cappella harmony. Dawn Allsopp has re-designed the set for the current UK tour.


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