BWW Review: THE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE BY CHICKS at Q Theatre
Reviewed by Steven Arnold
Historical, hysterical, outrageous, raunchy, colourfully costumed energised and entertaining.
"Shakespeare written by chicks" directed by Brigid Costello perfectly meets the midnight, midweek audience, venue and expectations. The director (xxx) plunges us into a world of teenage self-obsession: we were thoroughly entertained by a collage of talent, humour and energy. The Audience were greeted by the actors and that interactivity Continues to set the tone, for this pacey, racy romp.
There are 5 women - Trapped in a drama school production evaluation; they complete with Petit jealousies, emerging relationships, competitive longings to be recognised as rising theatrical stars displaying an array of talent, a thirst for sexuality exploration; naturally enough engage with Shakespeare in the way that has never been done before- and in their undies!
'Shakespeare by Chicks' pokes fun at poetry, prose and patriarchy- challenging, questioning and debating the authenticity of Shakespeare's literary contributions as fake news- by 'proving', using examples of strong women from history whom he ripped off, and apparently claimed as his own talent.
Nobody takes anything seriously except perhaps the cast and crew's own commitment to the theatre craft. The actors were great: the light/sound/design all worked. We were definitely transported to the girls' drama school.
The cast change accent costume and character with each breath, Contributing to the fast pace Energetic interactive show.
Shakespeare and other authors are freely, irreverently, and loosely referenced throughout the script which keeps the audience entertained. Many a laugh came as the audience recognised yet another allusion, and twist from the famous (and now infamous) texts ostensibly from the olde Bard Bill.
Each of the five actors, Cleverly maintained their individual personas, even while combining many different Cameos and scenes.
A memorable scene was Alice's/Othella's revelation of madness.
Another the emerging and touching romance occurring off / on stage. Classic youth theatre stuff!
Sparkling text, vernacular and vulgar, lifted straight from Queen Street 2020, flows into the highly revered sacred Shakespeare's own scratchings - Globe 1616.
A Light comedic flirt with literary critique, teenage angst and the twists and turns of time, flippant physical fun, yes - but it gave more than a casual insight into women's roles both on and off stage, throughout history.
However, it would be wrong to say this was just clever silliness, Despite the array of text snippets and disregard for Context plot and character; We appreciated the talent of the performers; they brought to us the fun of the moment.
Despite the mayhem, there were times when the Shakespearean performances was moving convincing, sensitive and charming.
The team on stage looked like they had great fun, as did we the audience - neither convinced of the original premise, but that like the romance of Pyrrhus and Thisby it just didn't matter.
On at Q Theatre until 22nd February