NOTICE! The National Production Company take no responsibility for any loss of blood pressure, brain cells or partners during the course of the proceedings. This is a high paced action packed thrill ride and we ask that; should the intense hurtling speed of the Shakespearean canon and our majestic performances cause you to vomit and burst into flames, please refrain from screaming too loudly so as not to affect the enjoyment of those around you. May the Bard be with you.
When the play you are going to see has the above as a disclaimer, you sort of know what you are letting yourself in for. The Complete works of Shakespeare (abridged) is a fast and funny, totally silly and irreverent romp through the 37 plays of Shakespeare, performed by a company of three from The National Production Company Ltd, complete with props, puppets and quite a bit of audience participation. It’s a hoot!
The premise is simple, can the complete works of Shakespeare by performed in an hour and a half. The answer is yes, as long as you condense the comedies into one piece (surprisingly easy when you see just how they overlap), perform Othello as a very funny (and rather rude) rap, turn the vicious and bloodthirsty Titus Andronicus into a cooking programme and portray the history plays in the form of a rugby match. Confused? Actually you won’t be, but your sides may well be hurting as the performance contains so many laugh out loud moments. If you are a fan of the sorts of anarchic comedy made famous by Blackadder and The Young Ones, you will totally love this, and will even be treated to Hamlet (or Helmet) being performed three times, including once backwards.
The Complete works of Shakespeare (abridged) is performed with boundless energy by the team from the NCP, in this case Tim, Andrew and Mark. If you think Shakespeare is boring, or slightly on the academically worthy side, then you really need to see this, you will never see the bard in quite the same way again.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)
The Old Rep Theatre Birmingham Until 28th July
Click here for ticket information