The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

by criticalhit009

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is a short vaudevillian play of three actors attempting to perform the entirety of Shakespeare’s oeuvre. While there are a good decent amount of jokes riffing on the material itself, more humor overall is wrenched from the put upon performers, feigning intimidation and incompetence at times for a laugh. This creates an imbalance, as the play could use much more clever writing than repeating the same broad tropes.

Instead, the performers pad out the running length with excessive antics. Two of the trio run after each other, leaving the last to show off his fire eating skills. A more beleaguered scene later wastes time interacting with the audience, which feels like more of an excuse to pad the running length than anything else.

The entire production summarizes Shakespeare’s historical plays and comedic plays in two short skits, leaving some of Shakespeare’s most popular works stretched out over many scenes. This would be all well and good if they had enough material. When in doubt, manic screaming and fake vomiting takes over for some physical humor to punch things up.

There are some good skits in here, but it’s bogged down by padding and weaker jokes, humorous trifles that ultimately aren’t that filling. Some of the sketches are worth a glance (envisioning Titus Andronicus as a cooking show is quite amusing), but watching the production in its entirety is not worth it.