DIRECTOR: Peter Court

CAST: Adam Dorè, Marc Kay and Clinton Small

VENUE: Seabrooke’s Theatre

UNTIL: Friday

RATING: ****

WHEN I read the line “37 of Shakespeare’s plays in just 97 minutes” I wasn’t sure what to expect. I certainly didn’t anticipate leaving the theatre with aching stomach and cheek muscles – because of all the laughing I endured while watching Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged).

The play, originally written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, is staged in Durban by the Actors Unemployed Company (Adam Dorè, Marc Kay and Clinton Small) and is a parody of the Bard’s works, performed in short.

After a brief biography on Shakespeare – from where he was born, his marriage, where he lived to his involvement in sparking off World War II (according to this nutty script) – the audience is taken on a roller-coaster ride through his works.

Expect madcap takes on the famous plays Romeo and Juliet, with a lisping Romeo and an “I’m sexy and I know it” Juliet; Titus Andronicus, portrayed as a cooking show that could be quite hard to stomach, but will leave you in stitches; Othello, done entirely in rap; and more.

Some of my favourite parts include Shakespeare’s 16 comedies all rolled into one insane piece and Macbeth – Scottish style.

The great thing about this play is that it’s not just a spoof, but scripted in such a way that you get an insight into Shakespeare’s back- ground, his writings, theories about his writing and still understand what his plays were about. So whether you are a fan or just blank out at the thought of Shakespeare, this is worth seeing.

The audience interaction in this production is partly what makes it a winner and – on top of their hilarious performances – Dorè, Kay and Small pull this off effortlessly and I believe that this is so because they evidently have fun with this production.

Audience interaction means you could score yourself a part as a “lead” in one of the Bard’s plays, or you could be seaweed, but either way it’s lots of fun (check out some of the victims – I mean, audience participants – on the Actors Unemployed Facebook page).

The trio do a great job of pulling off this play, which, despite its slapstick presentation, requires them to be funny and good at remembering their lines.

As if Shakespearean text is not difficult enough, these guys pull off parts of various plays in their original form and modernised, super-fast and even performed backwards! These men in tights are a must-see!

Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) stages as part of the Actors Unemployed Company’s mini-fest over the next few weeks.

The other two plays they are staging are Birdman – a fictionalised account of a con artist turned pioneering aviator in the late 1800s, written and directed by Kay and starring Dorè, and The Pied Piper of Hamelin – the company’s new children’s theatre offering debuting just in time for the winter school holidays.

• Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) runs at the Seabrooke’s Theatre until Friday. Show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are R75, R50 for students, pensioners and block bookings. Call 031 277 1570, or Marc at 072 435 8725 or get tickets at the door. The show will run at the Catalina Theatre from July 19 to 29. To book for this run, or any of the shows in the mini-fest, call Marc.