THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF AMERICA (ABRIDGED) Review

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Geoffrey Barnes, Justin McCombs & Miranda McGee. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Geoffrey Barnes, Justin McCombs & Miranda McGee. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF AMERICA (ABRIDGED) presented Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through Aug. 15. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.

Are you a fan of lightning-fast costume changes, sight gags, questionable accents, broad physical comedy, snide asides, cross-dressing and bad puns? If so, have I got a show recommendation for you.

Justin McCombs & Miranda McGee. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Justin McCombs & Miranda McGee. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

After tackling all the works of Shakepeare in last season’s opener, Cincy Shakes revisits the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s play catalog this year with THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF AMERICA (ABRIDGED).

A veteran performer in this type of show, Jeremy Dubin successfully steps into the role of director for AMERICA. His diverse cast of three features the talented Geoffrey Barnes, Miranda McGee and Justin McCombs.

As a conceit in this production, Austrailian Miranda is performing to earn extra credit toward her green card. She keeps the guys in check and the show on track. Justin is the dim bulb of the trio, with a penchant for cross-dressing and the previously-mentioned questionable accents. Geoffrey is the “little brother” of the three, always ready to hug out any problems that may arise during the show. His punchline to the line, “I want to make love to you in the worst way possible” sent the opening night audience into a giggling fit as that mental image hit home. Together they easily keep the audience laughing and shaking their heads at the zaniness on stage.

Geoffrey Barnes & Justin McCombs. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Geoffrey Barnes & Justin McCombs. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

For the set, it appears that designer Will O’Donnell smartly re-uses some of the walls from the previous production. Repainted to feature a time-line, and with the addition of patriotic-themed embellishment, it serves the production well. Nice touch that the upstage flag also serves as an entrance.

Geoffrey Barnes & Miranda McGee. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Geoffrey Barnes & Miranda McGee. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

The success of this type of show also relies heavily on the stage management and backstage crew. Also challenged were the costume team (designs by Denise Watkins) and prop master, Stacey Szczepanik. All were up to the task.

If you need a good laugh, and all things considered, who doesn’t, then AMERICA (ABRIDGED) is a great way to unplug and boost those endorphins.

My rating: 4.25 out of 5

Due to extremely strong ticket sales, two performances have been added: Sat, Aug. 8 and Sun, Aug. 16, both at 2pm.

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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