The Reduced Shakespeare Company has previously produced works such as The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), and the experience can be outright hilarious. The combination of irreverent slapstick and adherence to the original language is a wonderful way to make the Bard more accessible.
The Genesian Theatre Company’s William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (Abridged), also from The Reduced Shakespeare Company, introduces (the invented) Shakespeare’s very first play, discovered in a boring parking lot whilst the company was on tour in England. They find a huge tome, with nearly two thousand characters, and decide to produce it, with many, many edits.
The central battle is between Puck and Ariel, both desiring to outsmart the other through spells and meddling to force various characters into a final showdown to prove who is the better goblin.
Directed by Austin Tichenor and Reed Martin, this comedy has the enthusiasm of cast members Casey Martin (Puck and narrator), Paris Change (take your pick of characters: Juliet warbling, Richard stooping) and Riley Lewis (especially good in wigs and accents). Let’s not forget Esmerelda, a puppet playing Second Witch with her own story.
The Genesian Theatre Company is a wonderful place to encounter amateur theatre in the heart of Sydney. It might not be polished, but it doesn’t pretend to be. It is good fun.
Until Feb 13. Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent St, Sydney. $30-$35+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.genesiantheatre.com.au
Reviewed by Olga Azar