When I was sent to review NUTS’ performance of ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare’, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. From the colossal amount of detailed plays Shakespeare has written, I was instantly intrigued to see how a cast of merely four performs could pull this off. And they sure did.
The performance included interpretative dances, farsical scenes bursting with energy and plenty of audience participation. The group successfully covered aspects of all 37 plays whilst continuing to convince the audience that their comical performance was entirely improvised through the use of multi-roling as themselves as performers. The hilarity of the show was complete with “in-jokes” that the audience were fully allowed to be included in, as audience participation was at a high in this play. Not only were members of the audience questioned, asked up on stage and made to join in to help convey specific plot ideals within Shakespeare’s plays (such as Ophelia’s state of mind in Shakespeare’s Hamlet) but they were also fake “chundered” upon, as a comical recurring theme in every other scene within the show.
Without a doubt, my favourite part of the show was the incredible rap explaining the entire plot of Othello. They got it spot on, exciting the audience and bringing literary value into a modern and extremely fun environment.
Another major aspect of the performance was the cast’s use of cross-dressing and gender-role reversal; the decision to have a female actor as Romeo and a male actor as Juliet impacted the show drastically, making a faux-pax of Shakespeare’s “star-crossed lovers” into a shambolic, hilarious comedy.
The team’s variety of wigs for these various female characters was also terrific, along with the of props used to create all sorts of innuendos.
Overall, the audience loved the performance and enjoyed every moment of this entertaining interpretation of Shakespeare’s works. This certainly was a show to laugh out loud at.