Shortened too much? Every Shakespeare play in 90 minutes
By then there was a parody on Romeo and Julieta mashup of comedy and bloodthirsty Titus Andronicus was reduced to one body count.
The show relies on improvisation as the actors speak directly to the audience. Madeleine Withington’s production also relies on Pratfalls and lots of puke jokes.
The actors are clearly reveling in the underlying ridiculousness of it all — when Julius Caesar wears a sheet for a toga and hamletThe players of are two sock puppets. Spinks and Benjamin are particularly involved.
The work has been revised several times over the years, most recently in 2022, removing outdated material and adding new material.
There are allusions to Hamilton, The Lion King and Anne Hathaway, the Hollywood star. What a gift for the writers (Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield) is the appearance of an actor with the name of Shakespeare’s wife.
In one of the witty new lines, audiences are admonished to “swap the isolation of the iPhone for the idyll of the Iambus”. Not all lines, including this one, end up in one piece whizzing along like a race against the clock.
It’s a show full of sound and fury (and did I mention the puke jokes?) that means plenty of silliness.
BONNIE RAITT and MAVIS STAPLES
Darling Harbor Theatre, April 7th
Also BluesFest, Byron Bay, April 9th & 10th
If it’s to say goodbye – and rumor has it that Mavis Staples, aged 84 in July, could soon be ending a 73-year road career, while Bonnie Raitt, just 73, could be nearing the last two decades of her touring life – then that’s fine.
Staples may have a raspier voice than in her glory days, but she still commands when she orders “we gotta get it together” in a really happy gossip hour. It’s still enough from her tiny feet to sway with every fiber as she sings that she’s “just another soldier in love’s army.” And it still slides in with a growl Slippery peoplea secular song that is somewhat churched.
And when the gurgling blues of handwriting on the wall When she got going, she nearly pounded old King Belshazzar, who wouldn’t believe Daniel, in his shirtsleeves. Although the three other singers on stage took the leads Heavy Makes Happy (Sha Na Boom Boom) She brought the grit with her and more than justified the standing ovation that accompanied her (final?) departure.
As for her touring mate, there was another Grammy for Raitt this year, an accolade like her breakthrough in 1991 that came as a surprise to all but those paying attention to her untrendy but on-point work. Songs from between the two albums that spawned the big Grammy wins – Nick of the time And Just as – dominated this show.
Even if it meant the light reggae lope have a heartgot a place, the set choice makes sense not least because it offers us the second Talking Heads song of the evening (Burn down the house, now a boastful blues). Though it’s a letdown for those of us who know and love – in many ways consider if you like them a little dirtier – ’70s albums.
But even in borrowed boots (not a metaphor, she thought she’d left hers in Melbourne) Raitt smugly swept over possible objections Used to rule the worlda flowing channel that mixes two continents together Turn backand the smoky Blame it on mean early confirmation that her slide tone is still rich and her technique is still sharp.
The only recording before the Grammy years, John Prines Angels from Montgomery — a song that easily bears its heaviness as well as its genius, and not its age at all — has been surpassed by the new Grammy winner, her own Just asa subtle heartthrob of a story Prine would have been proud of.
But almost as effective were the full swings Life for those who didn’t make it (her slide work again a delight) that is delicate and unfussy I can not Make You Love Meand her now-familiar tug on INXS’ need you tonightmaking a song that wasn’t lacking in sexiness feel more mature but no less lewd.
So satisfaction from the Easter Bonnie? Yes, it was a pretty good Friday.