Concert Review

The Complete Millennium Musical (abridged) The Reduced Shakespeare Company. Greenwich Theatre, 25 July to 2 September 2000


Greenwich Theatre is alight again after a sad period of closure. With little besides the Proms to compete during August, S&H visited the newest production by the RSC, a group which brought the whole of Shakespeare in 90 minutes a few years ago & must not be confused with the Royal Shakespeare Company, whose intitals they have unashamedly appropriated. Three energetic & versatile young USA thespians, Tim Machin, Gary Fannin & Betsy Pennington, have been touring around the country a show written & directed by Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor, in the comfortable, easy-going tradition of TV historical spoofs. They had played it in USA (jokes about Mamie Eisenhower which may not have gone down so well in provincial Britain) and it is highly selective about which events of the last 1000 years they cover in 100 minutes. The script had nothing to compare with the familiar quotes extracted from the Bard's most famous plays in their compressed Shakespeare.

This one is the sort of show in which a bearded critic was taken for Sigmund Freud, and you may find yourself with a winsome actress in your lap, to general jollity. Nastier episodes in the history of the human race were favoured & you are meant to find the ravages of plague and pillage humorous. The recorded musical element (Nick Graham) varied from ghastly to fair, with tunes and lyrics far from memorable, but it was all very professionally put across, by personable and versatile actor/singers supplied with radio mics and provided with excellent sound control support so that, more's the pity, you never missed a word!

Peter Grahame Woolf


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