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BRIGHTON FRINGE: Shakespeare’s Avengers Assembleth: The Age Of Oberon – Rialto Theatre

Creators: Drake’s Drummers Theatre Company
Reviewer: Stephen Bates


“Ever wondered what would happen if Shakespeare was kidnapped by a crazed fairy king in an enchanted forest?” asks the publicity for this show. “Well actually, no” seems the appropriate answer.

It is true that the Bard himself worked from many equally silly propositions, not least in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which provides much of the inspiration here, but always he ensured that his ideas were properly realised and attached to some sort of logic. Here, the four all male members of Drake’s Drummers juggle roles to perform their own contribution to the current Shakespeare celebrations and the result is airy-fairy.

Out to rescue their creator are an arrogant Hamlet, a vengeful Macbeth, a piqued Ophelia and a regretful Brutus. They must also secure the safety of the mystical “infinity quill”, an object suggesting an imminent appearance by Harry Potter, which, thankfully, never transpires. The plot comes to nothing, but we all know what happened to Shakespeare 400 years ago anyway.

The show has the feel of a bunch of youngsters newly making the discovery that Shakespeare’s works are riddled with absurdities and setting about mocking them mischievouslyas if to stick two fingers up to those who taught them that they must be revered. The jokes are often weak and self-indulgent, suggesting that the company still needs to learn the importance of including an audience in their humour, rather than just amusing themselves.

It is all pitched at the level of a sketch in a student revue, but juvenile japes are not enough to carry a production at this level. Sadly, the company’s labours get lost twixt stage and audience and their show turns out to be much ado about very little.

Runs until 15 May 2016 | Image: Contributed


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One Comment

  1. I saw this play at the Edinburgh fringe and again last week in Brighton; I don’t recognise it at all from this review. The reviewer seems completely unaware of the juxtaposition of Shakespeare’s heroes with those of the Marvel universe, which seems pretty much the crux and point, of the play, the title should probably have given him a clue! He even mentions Harry Potterwhat?!

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