Saturday, September 16, 2017

Elgin Theatre Company and "Screwing Around with Shakespeare" at the Elgin Fringe Festival

The extensive talents of Elgin Theatre Company never cease to amaze us with their audacious variety of material in all sorts of genres. Donna Latham's original trio of sketches called "Screwing Around with Shakespeare" is a comedic cocktail of two main ingredients — Shakespeare and "screwing around" — and this mix is heavy on the latter.

Guy Moore as Romeo (left) and Henry Honshul as Ralphie in Elgin Theatre Company's
"Screwing Around with Shakespeare" at Elgin Fringe Festival

A cast of five handles all the roles that make up vignettes borrowed from Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, but these scenes aren't quite as the Bard wrote them. Not a contemporary resetting either, the scenes are a time warp of characters and dialog from different centuries, in full period costume and wigs, acting alongside a sign language interpreter.

It's campy as hell, and the over-the-top sendups of classic roles are full of youthful exuberance. The slapstick energy is infectious and the script is so full of pop culture references and contemporary urban street slang (CUSS) that it sounds like it was written five minutes ago. The cast cannot help but indulge themselves a bit.

A little knowledge of Shakespeare goes a long way in "Screwing Around," and if you listen carefully you'll find something to giggle about in almost every line.

This show wraps with a finale on Sunday, September 17th at 1:30pm at the Elgin Art Showcase.

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