Silly show of Shakespeare is quite the sidesplitter

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Silly show of Shakespeare is quite the sidesplitter

What would you do if given the opportunity to fast-track your absorption of the entire Shakespearean corpus?
Well, here’s your chance. A 97-minute comedic whirlwind of all of William Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets is coming to a stage near you. “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” at the M Theater of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts opened Tuesday and runs until March 16.
This is not the first time that the longest running comedy on London’s West End has come to Korea; the show came to Seoul in 2005.
Three thespians from Australia and New Zealand perform their abridged versions of Shakespeare’s 37 plays.
Some of the jokes may go over the heads of those unfamiliar with Shakespeare, but members of the audience hardly need in-depth knowledge of the Bard’s works to be entertained. This show is perfect for a night of hearty laughs.
The show kicks off with a question: “Do we know the works of William Shakespeare, the world-renowned playwright who has even influenced today’s modern theater?” With funny wigs and colorful tights the three stooges answer the question with wit and energy.
The literary flurry begins with “Romeo and Juliet.” However, don’t expect the heartbreaking romance of your high school English class. Instead, Ezra Bix, Keith Adams and Tim Schwerdt transform Juliet into Britney Spears and Romeo into the least attractive bachelor of fair Verona.
The comedic performance by the three actors is hilarious, although the gags ― like fake vomit ― at times seem juvenile. But the trio has added interesting elements, including references to Korean culture such as kimchi, as well as political satire. Famous and infamous world figures including North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush somehow fit into the show.
For the younger generation there is a quick hip-hop rap of “Othello,” during which the trio wears baseball caps backwards. In their rhymes, they say they’re too white to play the tortured Moor, and therefore had to choose the next best thing.
One of the best bits is “Macbeth,” performed entirely in a Scottish brogue. This makes some of the lines difficult to understand for non-Scots, but adds a whimsical touch.
Don’t expect to just sit back in your seat, though. The trio gets the audience participating ― even against their will. But it’s all in good fun, and it’ll definitely spice up your evening and broaden your smile.


Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on weekdays, 3 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 and 5 p.m. on Sundays. There are no shows on Mondays. Tickets range between 33,000 won ($34.85) and 55,000 won. For more information call (02) 541-3150.


By Lee Ho-jeong Staff Reporter [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]
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