8.6/10
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14 user 3 critic

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (2000)

| Comedy | TV Movie
Three guys, one dead playwright, and 37 plays, all in under two hours. In this universally acclaimed theater experience, Adam Long (one of the troupe's founding members), Reed Martin, and ... See full summary »

Director:

Paul Kafno
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Cast

Cast overview:
Adam Long Adam Long ... Various Characters
Reed Martin Reed Martin ... Various Characters
Austin Tichenor ... Various Characters
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Storyline

Three guys, one dead playwright, and 37 plays, all in under two hours. In this universally acclaimed theater experience, Adam Long (one of the troupe's founding members), Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor manage to compress the complete works of Shakespeare into about an hour and 40 minutes of high-speed over-the-top hilarity. Knowledge about Shakespeare's works is helpful, but not at all necessary. All that is needed is time enough to watch and someone to dial 911 in case you pass out from laughing so much. Written by Mike Gulick <dagger@shelltown.net>

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Genres:

Comedy

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Details

Country:

Canada | UK

Language:

English

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The music played by Adam Long as he plays the guitar during the epilogue of the Romeo and Juliet sketch is the main theme from Romeo and Juliet (1968), directed by Franco Zeffirelli. See more »

Quotes

[Adam doesn't want to take part in "Hamlet"]
Reed Martin: The play is called "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare".
Adam Long: Then we'll change the name. We'll call it "The Complete Works of Shakespeare Except Hamlet".
Reed Martin: Adam, that's ridiculous!
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Connections

References The Muppet Show (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Mah Nà Mah Nà
(uncredited)
Written by Piero Umiliani
Performed by Austin Tichenor
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User Reviews

 
Don't Get Shakespeare? Try this!
11 March 2007 | by dadoo4050See all my reviews

I first encountered this grandly amusing entertainment as a live production at my university campus some years ago. My son and I decided to to go based solely on the play's title, and a winking caricature of Shakespeare displayed on the poster. Little did we know what that wink signified, as we had no idea of the lunacy that was in store for us. When "The Reduced Shakespeare Company" came available on VHS (then, later, DVD), I purchased it, and have been enjoying and sharing it ever since.

As a secondary English teacher, I have difficulty sometimes getting my students to embrace the classics. When I mention Shakespeare, eyes roll, heads fall onto desks, and moans can be heard. It's like getting a small child to eat his vegetables. Like broccoli, the classics are good for us, but they're hard for some to digest.

Enter the Reduced Shakespeare Company with its "The Complete Works of "William Shakespeare (Abridged)." I have used excerpts in class to show the kids that Shakespeare can be a lot of fun. With their more-or-less complete versions of "Romeo and Juliet" and "Hamlet," even my most resistant students know the major plot points and themes of these plays.

The overview of the other plays is inspired, lumping the main ideas of Shakespeare's comedies into one tossed-salad. The histories are also compressed in a manner that only Americans could have devised.

And, one can never view "Othello" in quite the same way after hearing the "Reduced Shakesperians" rendition of "Othello Rap." This performance is much more (or less) than a teaching tool. It is a rollicking, comedic fun time for all. If you like Shakespeare already, you'll like the witty satire going on here. If you like the Three Stooges, the slapstick is right up your alley. If you have a short attention span, don't worry. One can view this performance as a whole, or pick out bits one finds amusing.

I have viewed "The Complete Works" several times now, both with my family and with my students, and each time I find a new joke, or even a new insight, that I missed earlier.

Some have suggested that Shakespeare is perhaps rolling in his grave at this treatment of his plays. I like to believe, however, that if he were alive today, Will would be laughing--all the way to the bank.


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