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Posted by : RodDungate on Feb 15, 2017 - 05:36 PM Tours
Birmingham & Touring
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S LONG LOST FIRST PLAY (ABRIDGED) Reed Mortin and Austin Tichenor
Reduced Shakespeare Company
3Star***

Birmingham Rep, to 15 02, Touring (UK and US) to 28 05

Runs: 2h, one interval
BO: 0121 236 4455
www.birmingham-rep.co.uk
www.reducedshakespeare.com/productions/william-shakespeares-long-lost-first-play-abridged/

Review Alexander Ray Edser, 14 02 17

Fresh, frolicking, fun

The Reduced Shakespeare Company has been around for some time, offering us its zany, witty, and rather erudite knock-abouts built upon Shakespeare's writing.

This time round it is an amazing discovery of a manuscript buried in an obscure car part (once obscure) in Leicester. The MS turns out to be Shakespeare's long lost first play; this RSC performance is abridged, bringing the performance to 2 hours from its original (I think) 40.

This really is mad-cap stuff. Played with lightning speed, much of the delight is from the greased lightning speed changes. There are a large number of characters since Will (it would seem) was trying out ideas that he would use (and re-use) later. Of particular delight is a gay Richard III (with and without deformity), three witches that somehow merge with Lear's daughters, an on-going battle between Ariel and Puck, and the Egyptian Queen lost in a forest (along with everyone else.)

The trio of performers are strong, physically and vocally. Their hi-energy comedy has a warn charm about it, keeping the clowning fresh and open. The audience seem well in the know, too, appreciating the sharpness of invention.

Nevertheless, there is a slight creaking of the format; though mostly hidden by the trio's considerable talents. If you're up for a laugh, and particularly if you've not seen them before, give it a whirl.

Performers: Joseph Maudsley; Michael Pears, James Percey

Director: Austin Tichenor
Costume Supervisor: Denis Blatchford
 
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