Sunday, September 13, 2015

theatre review - THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) - Desert Foothills Theater - September 10, 2015

Ryan Wentzel, Ari DeVriend and Bradley Beamon
Photo: Tiffany Bollock

Click here for more information on this production that runs through September 20th.

"William Shakespeare's vast body of work is impressive. He wrote dozens of comedies, histories, tragedies and sonnets, and back in the late 1980s Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield of the Reduced Shakespeare Company decided to attempt to condense his entire body of 37 plays into an abridged 90-minute comedy. The result, the irreverent and witty The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) has gone on to long runs and worldwide acclaim, eliciting hilarity and hijinks along the way. Desert Foothills Theater presents a lively production of the show with a fine cast and hilarious results.... the play includes varied condensed versions of his plays that parody, poke, and prod at the absurdity of Shakespeare's works. From delivering Othello as a white man's rap song, turning all of Shakespeare's history plays..into a Battle of the Kings football game, the fast and fun show is contemporary and relevant, full of improvisation, bawdy jokes, and references to pop culture (though) not every moment works, with a few that barely get a chuckle...The cast of Desert Foothills Theater's production includes Bradley Beamon, Ari DeVriend, and Ryan Wentzel, and all three are skilled in the improvisation elements that are required, with the fourth wall completely nonexistent. ...DeVriend is a joy, from her propensity to have all of her downtrodden and dying characters end up mock vomiting on the front row of audience members to a stunning, dramatic, delivery of Hamlet's "What a piece of work is a man!" monologue, she brings plenty of spunk and sensitivity to the show. Director Eric Schoen keeps the production moving along at a brisk pace, though the beginning falters just a bit, as do some of the quicker line deliveries that get lost, even in the small space....Charming and slightly bawdy, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) is a fun romp through the Bard's plays that a Shakespeare scholar or novice will enjoy, though if you know nothing about any of his plays you may be a bit lost at the many laughs coming from the audience. While not everything in the play works, DFT has a young, fun cast that turn their production into an inspired, witty, and delightful time."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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