This is a copy of the original review - the link takes you through to the At the Theatre website - The Incomplete Works of Shakespeare - At The Theatre
Written by Sheldon Chadwick - 28/10/2022
The Incomplete Works of Shakespeare– 5 stars!
Presented by The Rubbish Shakespeare company and Wing It – Impro & Stories
The John Foster Drama studio was packed for this new piece of work from Liverpool companies Rubbish Shakespeare and Wing it impro. The tone for the work was set from the pre-show interactions between the actors and audience in addition to the sounds of the medieval version of Thunderstruck.
The set up for this improvised play is simple, William Shakespeare has failed to arrive with the new play. The company all members of the ‘Kings men’ decide that the show must go on as King James is sat in the audience. To ensure it does they derive three ideas from the audience in addition to the title of the play in this instance ‘Sharks Spears forget’ – one of the suggestions ‘the problem’ was based on sharks. From these simple ingredients this troupe of talented actors set about creating a Shakespeare play.
The next 90 minutes is a cavalcade of characters, chaos and clown. The skill of the work is in knitting together the ideas borne out in the early part of the play and slowly linking them to the conclusion. And yes, it is Shakespearean as the company use both prose and verse to create the text. In between all of this we experience love, death, magic – all played and generated in the moment. What was so impressive was the playfulness between both the company and the audience, if you require an extra actor pull them from the crowd. The highlight being a member of the audience instructed to sing ‘the song of war’ – daunting, but the company support the person, named ‘Big Tim’ in doing this. The level of interaction emerges organically and does not feel forced. The stage by the end is littered with props, costume, and musical instruments all of which have been used in different ways.
I highly recommend that you catch this show if you can. It is different to the normal improv work on offer, and this makes a refreshing change. It blends live music, clown, magic realism, physical theatre and storytelling into a delicious mix. The work is rooted in ‘play’ and we enjoy the actor’s childlike spontaneity in discovering each moment. Lee Hithersay, Rob Bond, Mark Smith and musician actor Pete Smith are extremely funny. Each made me laugh and in combination they are hilarious. The final moment of the play is decided by King James – the power of life and death in his hands as he is asked to give a thumbs up or down. As per the King, I give it a massive thumbs up. This is improvised theatre at its best.