Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Complete works of William Shakespeare [Abridged] at Albuquerque Little Theatre

Most reviewers would call this show a "romp," which is reviewer-speak for, "The audience really got into it." You can romp all you want onstage but if the audience isn't romping with you? Crickets. Thankfully, that's an impossibility given the show that's kicking off the 84th season at Albuquerque Little Theatre, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged], a comedy as you might imagine.

Leading the way are three players, Daniel T. Cornish, Ryan Jason Cook and Scott Bryan, and between lots (and lots) of wig and costume changes the trio manages to tell all, yes all, of Shakespeare's works. Don't believe it? I had to see it to believe it myself.

Written by the three original players, Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, the play was first performed in 1987 and has been through several re-writes to keep the gags modern... so modern, one of the improv moments even got a poke in at Miley Cyrus' twerking. Starting with Romeo & Juliet, the original dialogue degrades quickly into the slapstick humor the audience expects. What they don't expect are all the moments that require not only their attention, but their actual participation. Ever dreamed of playing Ophelia? This is your show! Wonder how an actor finds a character's internal motivation? Oh boy, will you ever find out how in this production!

Directed by George Williams, this is the actors' second time performing this play with ALT, having revived it after a 6 year hiatus and dusted off a newer version of the script for this go-round. Given the long standing friendship between the trio, the chemistry onstage works beautifully, giving the dialogue's bantering nature believable realism. And, a show such as this requires actors who can think on their feet, react to the crowd and still stay on track, while keeping the show progressing forward. Acting as a tight knit troupe, the three excel at the challenge.

Re-imagining Titus Andronicus as a cooking show, Othello as a rap, and Troilus & Cressida as performance art are just a few of the ways this show manages to take the traditional and, well, condense it into something modern and new. Personally, I had my own guffaw during their Macbeth, however, it is truly Hamlet that is given the most attention... indeed, the second act is dedicated to it. Sword fighting, men in drag, spooky ghosts and tremendous running in and out of scenes for costume changes keep this play rolling until the end, and with the audience so invested, it was no surprise they jumped to their feet, whistling and cheering, for a opening night standing ovation.

Running until September 15, you can get your tickets and other info by visiting or call 505-242-4750.

No comments:

Post a Comment