COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE [ABRIDGED]
It's twenty years now since a trio of fresh-faced Americans brought scaled-down Shakespeare to the Edinburgh Fringe.
Since then the condensed Bard has become a global brand, and three more actors, not quite so fresh-faced, but just as American [despite Simon's Kazakhstan teeshirt] brought their hilariously frantic filleted Folio to the Civic.
Though not, interestingly, under the Reduced Shakespeare Company banner ...
Ryan Ellsworth was superb as the evangleical academic in the cleverly scripted Prologue, and Glenn Conroy was brilliant as Polonius and the panicking actor at the end of part one. Simon Cole had the only snatch of straight Shakespeare, What a piece of work is a man, the applause proving he could be a real actor if the clowning gets too much.
Any resemblance between this stateside thesp and the Simon Cole who was brought up British in Broomfield and trained at the Guildhall has to be one of those Shakespearean coincidences ... Or did the reference to KEGS carry a deeper resonance ?
We had a rap Othello, combined comedies in masks, Troilus upstaged by a clockwork Godzilla, several volunteers all called Bob, and of course the big finish, Helmet Prince of Denmark.
This last play was done to death as a classroom participation exercise, then reduced to two seconds, and finally rewound. All done in the trademark energetic pantomime style audiences find so endearing. This major tour is coming to the Queens and the Mercury on its way to the Grand at Blackpool.