Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Tuesday, 12 January 2016
Shakespeare’s Best Bits ****
With plays & characters from William Shakespeare
Shakespeare Company Botanical
Gardens, Observatory Gate, until March 12, 2016 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars:**** I reviewed the
production on Jan 2, before opening night, with the director's permission. KH
L-R Clockwise_ Mark Dickinson Andrew Hondromatidis Kevin Hopkins Hugh Sexton Antony Rive Scott Jackson
the hands of a bunch of clever clowns, Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies quickly
transform into madcap comedies that include Macbeth riding a wooden horse, King
Lear as a rap song and Hamlet as Masterchef.
Glenn Elston’s outdoor production, Shakespeare’s Best Bits, the clownish tradesmen
from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – known as The Mechanicals – annihilate the
Bard’s tragedies and histories in their riotous search for a play to perform
for the Duke’s wedding.
fine comic timing and delivery, hilarious characters, witty dialogue and direct
engagement with the delighted audience, the cast of six rollicks through
parodies of a parade of Shakespeare’s works.
the carpenter (Kevin Hopkins) leads the buffoons in a parody of an actor’s warm
up that precedes their hilariously idiotic rehearsals.
is first to suffer these indignities with Flute the bellows-mender (Antony
Rive) draped in tartan and gabbling in a shonky Scots accent while galloping
around the stage on a hobbyhorse.
him is the nearly naked Bottom the weaver (Andrew 'Hondo' Hondromatidis) playing
a yellow bearded Banquo who sports a furry, orange g-string that brings new
meaning to the name Bottom and new joy to ‘bad’ acting.
hauls two unsuspecting volunteers on stage to assist with the entire Wars of
the Roses series of plays, skipping those stories with too few murders.
the seemingly dim-witted Snug the joiner (Mark Dickinson) interjects with
beautifully delivered speeches including simple but compelling excerpts from Henry
IV’s ‘Once more unto the breech’ and Richard III’s ‘Now is the winter of our
Snout’s (Scott Jackson) interpretive dance company performs an achingly funny version
of Romeo and Juliet with clumsy, balletic pirouettes and a shadow-screen death
tackle Antony and Cleopatra in the style of a Vegas floorshow with Robin
Starveling the tailor (Hugh Sexton) as a weirdly feminine Cleopatra in drag,
Jackson as a smug, Wayne Newton-style club singer and Hondromitadis as a strutting
highlight is Hondromitadis and Hopkins performing the King Lear Hip-Hop rap
song that wittily tells the tale of the old king and cunningly incorporates
quotes from the Fool’s speeches.
don’t need to know all the Bard’s plays to enjoy Shakespeare’s Best Bits
because it a comic romp performed by a talented cast of actors who inject the
tragedies with hilarity and stupidity.