BWW Review: THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE ABRIDGED at Castle Craig Players
On Saturday, February 23, I had the pleasure of seeing a hilarious comedic spoof called THE COMPLETE WORKS OF William Shakespeare ABRIDGED as put on by the Castle Craig Players at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse in Meriden, CT. This satire on William Shakespeare is written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield and is directed by Melanie Del Sole. Audience members are neither required to know nor like William Shakespeare's plays in order to appreciate this type of parody that stands on its own. Like with Shakespeare's works, this show has an appeal that spans multiple generations.
The set depicts what looks like the inside of a castle, with curtain covered exits in the back of the stage, both on the left and the right. Numerous costume changes and prop acquisitions are made through these entrances and exits. Lighting effects and music effects throughout are effectively used to add to the humor. While this is not a musical, there are moments of cast members singing songs that enhance the comedy.
Ian Galligan, Griffin Kulp, and Bobby Schultz are phenomenal, playing fictional roles of themselves, putting on a farcical compilation of Shakespeare's works, the three actors playing all the included roles, themselves, before an audience that becomes the audience for this play within the play, a show with no fourth wall. The stage chemistry between the three actors is incredibly tight, while it is clear that all three love playing their roles, with contagious positive energy that radiates throughout the audience.
The comedy comes through slapstick, double entendres, mockeries of how some of what is included in Shakespeare's works is asinine by modern standards, modern pop cultural references, and even through effective political humor, effective on the grounds that it does not take sides and therefore does not ostracize half the audience.
After a hilarious introduction, the show continues with a spoof on Romeo and Juliet. It continues with a cooking satire of Titus Andronicus, and then proceeds to spoof Othello. A compilation parody of Shakespeare's comedies soon follows. A Scottish interpretation of Macbeth, and a football themed compilation spoof mostly of Shakespeare's history based plays are also included. The second act is primarily a parody of Hamlet. All 37 of Shakespeare's plays at least come up in conversation throughout the show.
For mature audiences, I highly recommend THE COMPLETE WORKS OF William Shakespeare ABRIDGED as put on by the Castle Craig Players at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse in Meriden, CT, a show that is scheduled to continue to run through March 9, 2019. For times and tickets, please go to Tickets.