Shakespeare’s Avengers Assemble: The Age of Oberon* (Brighton Fringe Festival – Rialto Theatre)

Posted: May 14, 2016 in Theatre

shakespeare's avengersThis review was originally written for The Reviews Hub: http://www.thereviewshub.com

“Ever wondered what would happen if Shakespeare was kidnapped by a crazed fairy king in an enchanted forest?” asks the publicity for this show. “Well actually, no” seems the appropriate answer. It is true that the Bard himself worked from many equally silly propositions, not least in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which provides much of the inspiration here, but always he ensured that his ideas were properly realised and attached to some sort of logic. Here the four all male members of Drake’s Drummers juggle roles to perform their own contribution to the current Shakespeare celebrations and the result is airy-fairy. Out to rescue their creator are an arrogant Hamlet, a vengeful Macbeth, a piqued Ophelia and a regretful Brutus. They must also secure the safety of the mystical “infinity quill”, an object suggesting an imminent appearance by Harry Potter, which, thankfully, never transpires. The plot comes to nothing, but we all know what happened to Shakespeare 400 years ago anyway. The show has the feel of a bunch of youngsters newly making the discovery that Shakespeare’s works are riddled with absurdities and setting about mocking them mischievously, as if to stick two fingers up to those who taught them that they must be revered. The jokes are often weak and self-indulgent, suggesting that the company still needs to learn the importance of including an audience in their humour, rather than just amusing themselves. It is all pitched at the level of a sketch in a student revue, but juvenile japes are not enough to carry a production at this level. Sadly, the company’s labours get lost twixt stage and audience and their show turns out to be much ado about very little. Runs until 15 May 2016

Performance date: 12 May 2016

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