Shakespearean high energy romp

Greg Cooper plays dozens of madcap roles. Photo: Peter Mcintosh
Greg Cooper plays dozens of madcap roles. Photo: Peter Mcintosh
Chingford Park — Sunday, February 11

The Star reporter Brenda Harwood

The leafy surrounds of "Wedding area 1" at Chingford Park played host to a different kind of match-up on Sunday, as a trio of indefatigable performers bounced their way through madcap comedy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).

Created in the 1980s by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, of the California-based Reduced Shakespeare Company, the show is a high energy romp through Shakespeare’s canon, taking lots of liberties with the material for comic effect.

Directed by Lara Macgregor, the fantastic cast of Gregory Cooper, Sara Georgie and Nick Tipa immediately engage with the audience, breaking the "fourth wall" and leaping frantically about as they battle with 37 plays in under two hours. High-energy slapstick and tomfoolery abound, keeping the audience laughing along throughout, and the performers show impressive skills as they race through dozens of characters at top speed.

The show starts with a parody of Romeo & Juliet, tackles Titus Andronicus as a cooking show, Othello becomes a rap song, the comedies are all mashed into one, the political plays become a rugby game, and so on.

The second half is devoted to several dubious and increasingly hilarious attempts at Macbeth, with chaotic audience participation, finishing with a bonkers backwards flourish.

It’s all great fun, and a very entertaining experience in delightful surroundings. Recommended.

Dunedin Summer Shakespeare continues this weekend at Chingford Park with performances on Friday and Saturday, at 6pm, and Sunday, at 4pm. In the event of rain, the show will move to Dunedin North Intermediate school hall.