Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged]

Ah, Shakespeare. The great bard. You've heard he's a terrific writer. One of these days, you may actually get around to catching one of his plays. Yeah, right. Well, with the help of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, not only can you catch all of Shakespeare's plays at once, but you can have a riotous good time doing so. Three men performing 37 plays in less than two hours may seem a bit of a stretch. But Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor--all members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company--pull it off beautifully with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), a slapstick show that summarizes the playwright's stage work (with the sonnets thrown in). Never read Titus Andronicus? No problem; it's presented here as a cooking show. Can't keep your Shakespearean histories straight? Visualize them as a football game. Wondering what exactly is the deal with that guy Othello? Hear his story as a rap song. Hard as it is to imagine, this video of the stage show (originally seen on PBS) is one of the funniest, most clever productions around. Long is hysterical in his roles of Juliet and Ophelia (among others), bringing a hip, edgy feel to the plays while remaining surprisingly true to the stories. Martin and Tichenor will amaze with their acrobatic movements and frequent costume changes, and the three together are a marvel of timing and rhythm. Best of all, whether you know Shakespeare inside out or have yet to read a word of him, The Complete Works will have you in stitches. --Jenny Brown

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