Should the phone ring one day, and you are asked to recount the plot of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” would you remember which Italian city the play takes place in? The particulars of the faked-death ruse that ends so unfortunately? The immortal lines that Juliet speaks from her balcony as her heart flutters with awakening love?
Well, umm…..yes. To all of those questions. But I don’t think I’m in the target audience :). The show reviewed appears to be something of the reduced/improv Shakespeare variety, starting with the premise that most folks kinda sorta know the story, but are foggy on the details. Sounds like a crowd pleaser. I remember seeing “The Complete Works in 60 Minutes” or whatever it’s called, and not really loving it. Not so much for the Shakespeare-mocking, but more for the weak attempts at humor. There’s massive amounts of material to be found in poking fun at Shakespeare so that Shakespeare fans can actually enjoy it. But there’s the rub, I suppose – these shows aren’t for fans. These shows don’t start with Shakespeare, they start with “That bit of Shakespeare that everybody in pop culture kinda sorta knows”, and then from there they just run with whatever sex joke they can find. In the Complete Works we got “Call you buttlove? What? Ok, buttlove” and other types of lines. In this version of Romeo and Juliet there’s apparently scenes of Paris … ummm… having some private time with Juliet’s corpse? Insert your own “rub” joke here, I can’t bring myself to do it.