Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reduced Shakespeare Does More than Shakespeare

The Reduced Shakespeare Company may have made its name delivering a quick and dirty summary of the bard's greatest works, but these days, the comedic trio is shrinking movies into one-liners, too. Until July 3, the Kennedy Center's smaller and more intimate Terrace Theater plays host to Reduced Shakespeare Company in Completely Hollywood (Abridged).

The show was honestly one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen -- and I am not a big stand-up comedy fan. The lines are mostly scripted of course, but it's also a little bit of improv, a touch of miming, plenty of cross-dressing, some awkward audience participation, a lot of very funny costumes and props, and ongoing hysterical banter among the three sole cast members, Dominic Conti, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor.

The show is advertised as referencing 187 movies in 100 minutes. So many of the lines, actors' names, scores, theme songs, and even poses and body language were so incredibly well-known, they were quickly recognizable to all. Of course, I didn't catch all the allusions, but that's what makes the show fun for various ages; there was laughter among the older crowd when my brothers and I were sitting there clueless, but when some lines snuck in from Gaga, we had our chance to chuckle knowingly.

As described in the playbill, "WARNING: This show is a high-speed, roller-coaster type condensation of Hollywood (the movies and the mindset) and is not recommended for people with heart ailments, back problems, film degrees, inner ear disorders and/or people inclined to motion sickness. The Reduced Shakespeare Company cannot be held responsible for expectant mothers."

"Completely Hollywood (Abridged)" through July 3 at the Terrace Theater

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