Maybe it’s just because the Fringe brochure came out last week and with it a sort of Fringe euphoria has taken hold of reviewers and critics across the city, but The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), on at the Assembly Roxy this week, has a distinctly Edinburgh Fringe feel about it.
Madcap hi-jinks, satirical humour, a collection of increasingly bewildering props, and three up-and-coming young actors combine to create a show which would not be out of place on a Fringe line-up.
It is fast, fun and action-packed and although the writers (Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield) have taken artistic license with most of the retellings of the great works of Shakespeare they still ‘roughly’ tell the stories of the famous plays. For youngsters perhaps less than keen to explore the eminent writer it is a humorous introduction into what can at first glance seem like somewhat arduous literary works.
The three actors: Matthew Duckett, Andrew Alton and James Tanton are engaging with the small audience and play a host of characters throughout the evening, opening with Romeo and Juliet and spending the entire second half with Hamlet. Given that some plays are given very little air time, however, the ‘Hamlet half’ is perhaps overkill.
Alongside some of the most famous lines from the most famous of writers there are modern day social, cultural and political references and the energy never lets up as Duckett, Alton and Tanton speed through all thirty seven plays in just two hours.
At times hilarious, most definitely fun and just a little bit pantomime, the National Production Company put on quite a show in line with one of Shakepeare’s most famous quotes: “All the world ‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.” And many parts in many plays the three actors most certainly cover.