BWW Review: SHAKE IT UP: THE IMPROVISED SHAKESPEARE SHOW, Hen & Chickens
Shake It Up Theatre's concept for their Improvised Shakespeare Show is very simple and follows the basic rules of improv - with an Elizabethan twist added to the mix. The audience are in charge of setting the scene, choosing the genre first and then moving to setting and protagonist, the weirder, the better.
The cast (Abigail Clay, James Dart, Rebecca Gibbs, Joseph Prestwich, and Edward Kaye) start to flex their muscles as their crowd picks a location and a name to carry the story, while musicians Caleb Mitchell and Rose Trustman accompany the action.
Their impressive chemistry and trust spark creativity as they build the amusing and laugh-out-loud hilarious narrative using Shakespeare's language and general structure. They create rhymes and break out in songs fed by the cues that the patrons pre-write on paper slips ahead of the show. The atmosphere is joyfully convivial; the actors bounce back and forth stoking the plot twists and throwing themselves head-first into uproarious sequences.
The ever-changing nature of the production makes for an interesting evening and, with the company's quick wit and their penchant for ridiculous pastiche, it's a safe bet. While the public is central to the outcome of the play, Shake It Up maintain tight control of pace and rhythm, allowing themselves only a brief time span to let their scenarios meander.
Running at a mere hour, they keep it short and sweet with audience participation encouraged but not forced. Seeing what they come up with is as entertaining as watching them trying not to lose it on stage. They're funny, agile, and are unafraid to tip their toes in lightly deep themes as well. All in all, a great night out.