Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 30, 2010

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged

New Century Theatre, Northampton, MA
through August 7, 2010
By Eric Johnson

But soft, what silliness on yon stage doth break?

"Complete Works" takes the writings of The Bard and lovingly lampoons them combining vaudevillian shtick and slapstick humor while throwing in some pop culture jokes and references. And, as the title suggests, it all gets covered, from the Star-Crossed Lovers to Mac…, oops, make that the Scottish Play.

Sam Rush, Phil Kilbourne, and Brian Smith, under the direction of Tom McCabe, take on a plethora of characters whilst juggling costume (and gender) changes and props at a maniacal pace without missing a beat or a mark. The opening night house was very responsive and energetic, obviously delighted to be a part of the action during various scenes involving audience participation.

The set by Amy Davis, purposely designed to look "low budget," is perfect and is complemented nicely by Dan Rist's lighting design, costuming by Elizabeth Smolin and sound design by David Wiggall

Without giving away too much, some of the more hysterical highlights of the evening include Sam Rush as a Romeo reminiscent of Sylvester the cat from Loony Tunes, Phil Kilbourne's Titus Andronicus doing a laudable Julia Child impression and Brian Smith as a completely over the top Ophelia.

This final offering in NCT's 20 anniversary season is the perfect finishing touch to a wonderful summer of theatre consisting of audience favorites from the past 20 summers. There may be something rotten in Denmark, but there is nothing rotten about this show. Forsooth, get thee to NCT ere the "Complete Works" endeth.