Everyone loves a good outdoor summer Shakespeare production, and if you’re looking for an extreme Shakespeare experience to make up for years of quarantine from the theater, River Company’s production of ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)’ covers not one, not two, but all 37 of the Bard’s plays in a cool 97 minutes.
In the expert hands of River Company’s preeminent director Nick Azzaretti, this production is an irreverent, fast-paced romp that will leave you breathless and helpless with laughter. The production is comprised of just three actors - Emily Sue Barker, Soren Barker and Roosevelt Bishop, all hailing from Boothbay - who play over 100 characters as they weave their wicked way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies.
Set outside at the Edgecomb Community Church, the production recalls all the feel-good associations of summer Shakespeare in the park, complete with ample space for DIY picnic blankets and lawn chairs, in the natural amphitheater of the church’s labyrinth setting. There are many brilliant moments in this performance because the cast is so in tune with one another, including a hilariously modern Othello rap (move over ‘Hamilton’!), the historical play football game, and the three renditions of Hamlet in act two.
While every moment of the Shakespearean retellings are superbly enjoyable, the moments in between are just as funny. The actor’s facial expressions and ease of interacting with one another make the prologue and the transitions from one play to another some of the most entertaining scenes in the show. It is clear that the Barkers and Bishop are each formidable actors in their own right, but together they become one finely tuned Shakespearean machine. There is no such thing as a fourth wall in this show, and as audience members we are drawn irresistibly into the action and hilarity, making each performance a new experience. Even if you’ve never liked Shakespeare, this production is something special, and a pure treat to watch.
“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” was written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield.
Performances of this production are outside at the Edgecomb Community Church at 15 Cross Point Road, Edgecomb, on Friday, July 29 and Aug. 5 at 6 p.m. and on Saturday, July 30 and Aug. 6 at 2 and 6 p.m.
Productions canceled or postponed due to inclement weather will be rescheduled or refunded. To reserve tickets call 207-449-2943 or link to online ticket sales from www.rivercompany.org.