Scott Brown
July 11, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Reduced Shakespeare Company: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Current Status
In Season
Paul Kafno

We gave it a B

Live theater — especially stunt-driven performance art — loses a lot on home video, but the RSC’s three wandering bards keep up the momentum throughout their breakneck distillation of Shakespeare’s canon. (For those unfamiliar with the 20-year-old show, the three-man troupe accordions the First Folio by performing Othello as a rap, compressing the history plays into a football game with the crown as the pigskin, etc.) Despite a few groaners (”Willy” jokes, anyone?), Abridged is endearing, medium-clever fun, especially when Long defends his from-the-gut approach to emoting: ”I will not do dry, boring, vomitless Shakespeare!” EXTRAS Check out the home video of an early Abridged performance — it’s actually more fun than the polished version.

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