Shakespeare Reduced and a beast Beautified

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Shakespeare Reduced and a beast Beautified

Postby Barry » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:30 am

March 26th 2017

After the Venice trip I was exhausted but still caught two events this week. The Reduced Shakespeare company were at the Waterside, Sale, for one night, with their production of Shakespeare's first and long lost play, and what a dazzling evening it was. The premise was the three actors playing the recently discovered manuscript of the first play in which all the future characters appeared together, as did every location and situation. Only when Shakespearre wrote himself into a mess did he appear as a deus ex machine and split the long play into 37 shorter plays. Brilliantly inventive and it gave a chance for stand off between ariel and Puck and between Lady Macbeth and Cleopatra, and all manner of fast paced trickery with wigs and silks and props - not unlike a shorter animated film I know, that appeared about the same time as the company first appeared. Joyously giddy and supremely clever.
The live action remake of Beauty and The Beast is another matter - a bit redundant - the same but with more texture and pizazz but some numbers were made a mess of - especially Gaston's number never really got going in the way the clanking tankards did on stage. And it was dark, which was atmospheric certainly , but you know all the stress of committee meetings discussing the colour of the beast's trousers were in vain as you couldn't see them. And plot wise, they did fill in the backstories - damaged families as usual, but heck there was a lot of convenient running back and forth from the castle to the village and back again. I did enjoy it, but I think I would rather have seen a film of the stage version, keeping actors as the household objects. And the gay love story, well it is there, and neatly resolved. And yes Gaston dies. I wasn't convinced by the fight between the household objects and the invading villagers, and the villagers certainly switched their loyalties quickly. And yes the message that there is a handsome prince inside everyone whatever their appearance is good, but then how convenient that he turns out to be an actual handsome prince.
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