The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) | State Theatre Company SALeft - Mark Saturno. Cover - Nathan O’Keefe, Damian Callinan and Mark Saturno. Photos - Shane Reid

To see or not to see that is the question regarding State Theatre Company’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). The answer is see this lively production which is an entertaining and “Caviar to the general” comic take on The Bard’s handiwork.

From All's Well That Ends Well to Macbeth and King John, all 37 of the world's pre-eminent dramatist’s pieces are lampooned. Since brevity is the soul of wit it’s somehow acceptable in the confines of this production to slam all of Shakespeare’s comedies into a few dozen lines of spoken narrative that is strangely appealing. Though this be madness, there is method in it. 

The three actors (Damian Callinan, Nathan O'Keefe and Mark Saturno) strive mightily with gags, over-the-top antics, and the overacting is laid on with a trowel, but it’s enough to have the audience laughing itself into stitches. Adults will be reliably convulsed by all of the jocular references to the Bard's renowned stories, while people  in their “salad days” – this is part of the COME OUT festival – will learn little about the original plays as they are swept along by the anarchic frolicking. For example, Romeo & Juliet is performed as a pantomime, Titus Andronicus is delivered as a cooking show, Othello is hilariously served a bad rap and Julius Caesar is reduced to a parody of Monty Python’s The Life of Brian with the infamous words of “Fwiends, Womans, Countwymen lend me your lugholes.”

There’s a grand sense of fun throughout the entire production that runs into the music, set and costumes. Overall, there’s a lot of thought, love and endeavour gone into making this piece of theatre work on many levels. With this comic epic it’s best to sit back and enjoy the madness!

State Theatre Company of South Australia presents
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield

Director Adam Cook

Venue: Dunstan Playhouse
Dates: 25 March – 16 April 2011
Tickets: $49.00 – $29.00

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