Complete Works: Review

Faeron Wheeler‘s new production company, F Creations, delighted audiences with their first offering, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).

The play follows three actor/literary friends as they embark on the ambitious task of performing all 37 Shakespearean plays, and 154 sonnets in under two hours. What ensues is a ridiculous parody of all the tragedies, comedies and histories we all know (or pretend to know) so well.

The three actors, who play themselves, Faeron, Kim R2, and Daniel Enticott, work like a well-oiled comedy machine, and expertly guide us through this farcical performance, which pokes fun at Shakespeare, pseudo-intellectuals, literary buffs, the theatre, the audience, and most importantly, themselves.

After an introduction, in which a biography of Shakespeare is read by the oblivious Daniel who confuses Shakespeare’s life with Adolf Hitler’s, we spend 15 minutes on Romeo and Juliet. After a quick calculation, the cast decide they need to pick up the pace if we want to leave before midnight. A creative reenactment of Titus Andronicus as a cooking show follows, Othello done as a Broadway musical, and then a condensation of every Shakespearean comedy into one play: “Four Weddings and a Transvestite” – which I think says everything you need to know.

Most of the other plays are reenacted until they realise they’ve forgotten Hamlet. Daniel, intimidated by The Bard’s “greatest work”, runs out of the theatre, overcome by fear, and Kim is forced to call intermission.

The entire second act is dedicated to Hamlet (aside from the sonnets – which are passed out to the audience on a flash card), which sees the audience divided into Ophelia’s id, ego, and superego. After it is revealed that none of the cast know the famous “to be, or not to be” speech, the play swiftly comes to end after everybody dies (I mean everyone). The cast then realise there is time to refine their performances and so they repeat Hamlet until they’ve condensed it to simply the deaths, which takes three seconds – the fastest Hamlet in history.

And thus, the entire works of Shakespeare are laid before the audience in under two hours. With Daniel Enticott taking most of the female roles (and really relishing in them, may I say), and the two females dividing most of the male roles between them (Faeron makes a lovely Hamlet/Othello), I would say the casting was perfect. The script was hilarious and the actors came to that party; they really committed to the absurdity of the show and the audience just went along with them. There were audience members crying with laughter.

I wish Shakespeare was treated with more originality, like this show. Maybe it would make school kids who are forced to read these plays a little more interested.

In any case, I applaud the cast and F Creations. I am interested to see what they do next. Maybe a parody of Nicholas Sparks books? Although that might be a very short play.

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