Edinburgh Fringe: Complete works of Shakespeare (abridged)

Today I went to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at The Caves on Cowgate. I vaguely remember seeing this before in London and really enjoyed it. However during the show I only remembered the ending, which puzzled me as usually memories of plays I’ve seen before come back quite quickly. After having a look on the internet I discovered that this production isn’t the original version, which had three men and was half an hour longer. Even though they must have cut a lot out and the cast was now three women, it was a fun hour with just one slight wobble in the middle.

The cast began with Romeo and Juliet which was great. They summed up Titus Andronicus as a cookery show (which despite having not read this I thought was really funny); did all the comedies rolled into one, a speedy MacBeth, Julius Caesar and Antony & Cleopatra; Othello as a rap and Hamlet three times including one backwards and one with audience participation (don’t sit in the front row) which was really well done.

The only bit that wasn’t so funny was when one of the actress’s pretended to run off stage because she didn’t want to do Hamlet. One ran after her, and the remaining actress spent a tedious five minutes doing somewhat amusing filler whilst we waited for her return. It didn’t fit in with anything else, and if they cut out half an hour of the main show, why did they have that in there when there must have been better material?

Having said that, the rest of it was great especially Hamlet and Othello’s rap. The Caves is perhaps not the best venue for a play as occasionally it was a little difficult hearing them talk because the acoustics weren’t brilliant, but the sound effects, props and stage were well utilized.

If you want to see a funny hour show at 2.50pm in the afternoon for only £7.50, then I highly recommend it. I would also recommend reading the Wikipedia articles on the plays mentioned if you don’t know them though!

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