shakespeare (abridged)

the complete works of william shakespeare (abridged)After a very long and very trying day yesterday, probably the best remedy was going to see the State Theatre Company's production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Festival Theatre.

We had exceptionally good seats too... second row centre... I love good seats!

Other than the fact that it was a comedy and was supposed to feature 37 of Shakespeare's plays in just under two hours, I wasn't completely sure what to expect... and to be honest, when it started I did wonder how long it was going to take them to actually get to the proper Shakespeare bits.

But once the curtain came up and the three stars turned up in costume, it was worth the wait.

Speaking of costumes... and the set, while we're there, since Ailsa Paterson was responsible for both... the costumes were absolutely hilarious in their own right. Think Elizabethan dress by way of the Mardi Gras complete with sequins, feathers and an impressive use of Converse sneakers. And the set, a transforming, adapting caravan of wonders, was equally impressive.

The show itself is hilarious... it starts off with a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, moves on to Titus Andronicus, before taking on Othello... then the pace really starts to pick up and before you know it, they've done everything but Hamlet and it's time for the interval.

The entire second act (which, granted, is much shorter than the first act) is Hamlet.

I don't want to say much more about it, because there are a number of great surprises in the show (or jokes that I don't want to spoil).

The three stars, Damian Callinan (who is probably the "best known" face of the three), Nathan O'Keefe (who I saw in Assassins in 2007) and Mark Saturno (arguably the most Shakespearean of the three), are excellent... they have great comic timing and never seem to miss a beat during the whole show.

Of the three I think O'Keefe was my favourite though, especially for the Hamlet speech he gives during the second half, but also because he has great energy throughout the show.

I was perhaps a little disappointed that Macbeth only got a tiny scene... although they do manage to distil it down perfectly.

If you're a big Shakespeare fan, you should love it, and if you're not, well it might make you want to give him a try!

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