by Bonnie Goldberg
Fair warning to Shakespearian scholars and purists: the Playhouse on Park in West Hartford is offering up a tongue-in-cheek speedy survey of the Bard’s collective works until Sunday, July 30. With song, dance, improvisation, slapstick, horseplay and even a little mime, a trio of actors — Sean Harris, Hanna Cheek and Rich Hollman — skip at warp speed through all of Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies and histories in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised) created by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield.
In the fair environs of Verona, we meet Romeo and Juliet, the most famous star-crossed lovers who are doomed by the long standing feuding by their families. Before the bottles of poison are even drained, we are quickly swept into a cooking show reminiscent of Sweeney Todd as Titus Andronicus, chief chef, seeks revenge by concocting tasty human treats.
The tale of the dark and brooding Othello who becomes jealous when his best pal Iago deceives him about Othello’s wife Desdemona and her faithfulness is spotlighted next. With tweets and Instagrams, the green-eyed witch is revealed.
If one of the Bard’s comedies is good, then sixteen of them must be better. Watch the three go off and running when they tackle this mix and match mash up with identical twins, tempests and tons of mistaken identifies. Dukes, donkeys and fairies have a no holds barred free for all in this delightful tangle of tales.
Golfers play through as we go all Scottish on the heath as Macbeth takes center stage in this glorious blood and death story that quickly morphs into the Ides of March and Julius Caesar and football and Troilus and Cressida and ends with the Prince of Denmark himself, Hamlet. The audience gets to jump into the fray and shout out a few appropriate phrases as Wonder Woman leaps into the fight. Watch for skulls on motorcycles and a whole lot of chutzpah riding shotgun, but all in the name of frivolous fun. Tom Ridgely directs this out of control madness and frivolity, all designed for pleasure.
For tickets ($25-40 ), call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford, at 860-523-5900, ext. 10, or online to www.PlayhouseOnPark.org. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
PLAYWRIGHTS ON PARK Reading Series continues On Tuesday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. with an intense comedy “COMMUNITY” by Stephen Kaplan.
Come have fun and enjoy the theatrical antics as all of Shakespeare’s works are dusted off and hung on the line for exploration , examination and evisceration, all in the name of enjoyment.