Writers: Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor after William Shakespeare
Reviewer: R. G. Balgray
All the world’s a stage, of course. And Shakespeare – well, he’s the majority stockholder, isn’t he. So the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (Abridged), presently showing at the Gilded Balloon, is clearly on to a winner.
In fact, it’s a win-win proposition. It takes the familiar Reduced Shakespeare approach, and then some. The outset features the threesome taking a wholly-hokum nod to provenance, then off they go. As usual, there are enough references to satisfy any Bard savant, while sufficient of the content of the plays is included to tickle the wits of children or other learners. And the recipe is completed by enough slapstick and knockabout farce to keep a large audience happily entertained for the hour’s duration.
The basic plot – a face-off between Ariel and Puck to see who can best the other – is reinforced by constant mash-ups of famous speeches and half-remembered quotes by characters lobbed helpfully into different plays (the Weird Sisters do particularly well with this belated job opportunity – but there are plenty others…). The usual Reduced Shakespeare schtick, as it were. While it might seem there are a few too many signposts for the audience (Look at what we’re going to do here), for a cut up and paste job the rambling plot holds up surprisingly well. All’s well that ends well, then? Almost certainly.
Runs until 28 August 2017 | Image: Contributed