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THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through Aug. 16. Read the show description.
What happens when you take a 90-ish minute comedic send-up of all of Shakespeare’s works, add CSC veterans Jeremy Dubin, Justin McCombs and Nicholas Rose, and put it all under the direction Sara Clark? It’s not a question of the show being good or funny, but moreso a question of HOW good and HOW funny. The answer to both is “pretty damn.”
The jokes are fast and furious with a loving nod to the Scooby-Doo and Road Runner cartoons. There are more pop culture and movie references than you can shake a lightsaber at, many of which generated quick, knowing glances between my guest and I as they successfully landed. The performance has a great mix of smart verbal, visual and physical bits that add to the experience without bogging down the show. The three actors easily manage (or at least make it look easy) the demands of the show and balancing their interactions with the audience.
Excellent support from the production crew and their staff, led by stage manager Alice Flanders and costume designer Abbi Howson, keep this crazy train on track. Solid work from sound designer Doug Borntrager, scenic designer Andrew J. Hungerford and props headed by Travis McElroy & Tenley Pitonzo enhance the fun.
I did feel that there were a couple of places where the pacing slowed a bit. Coming back from intermission, it took a little too long getting the whole gang back together on stage. Things slowed down again during the audience participation segment. Perhaps reversing the order to bring the entire audience in for the fun first would help.
The HAMLET hat-trick at the end of the show is a riot and something I’ll remember fondly for a long time.
As I was leaving the theater opening night, I passed a colleague in the lobby who said, “It must be a good show if you are leaving with a smile on your face.” I certainly can’t argue with that. “!OOB”
My rating: 4.25 out of 5
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