July 31, 2011

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

This past weekend the Lawrenceburg Shakespeare Company North (LSCN) hosted a free event downtown. The production, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), is a fun romp through all 37 of the Bard’s plays. It celebrates Shakespeare’s talent, while at the same time poking fun at the common themes in his work and the occasional ripped off plot. It takes the highlights from his shows and mashes them together into one whirlwind stream of action.

The 90 minute performance, sponsored by Yelp, was held on the upper mezzanine level of the City Market. With a few rows of chairs and an enthusiastic cast of three, the show took off at a breakneck pace. They flew through scenes from Romeo and Juliet and before you knew it they were on to Othello. Bit and pieces of the original language is kept in tack with hilarious narration and pantomimes added along the way.

The simple set consisted of a large screen which allowed the actors to flit behind it to change wigs and grab props. The unique locale set the scene for an entertaining evening and some last minute effort from the behind-the-scenes crew ensured the cast was miked for the open space. There were even crepes provided by the local eatery, 3 Days in Paris, and Tomlinson Tap Room was open for business.

With lightning speed the actors ran the gamut of pop culture references from Jersey Shores to Glenn Beck. Using new mediums, i.e. cooking shows and impromptu raps, the classic tragedies became comedies. Who knew that Macbeth would be even better with a few added insults, like a well-timed “Haggis Face!”

The ever-changing costumes and playful cast kept the audience on their toes. Elise Lockwood played the occasional straight “man” to Henry Johnston and Stephen Dobbs slapstick duo, providing a good balance to the fun. The second act has a slightly slower pace as the trio made their way through the final play. The audience had a chance to join in on the fun as a few participants were pulled up on stage.

For anyone who has ever written Shakespeare off as a boring stiff, this show will absolutely breathe new life into his work for you. Entertaining, quick-witted and at the same time, a great reminder of the Bard’s brilliance, the show was wonderfully fun. Up next for the group is a September production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. The show will be performed in the Carmel Arts Center Amphitheater. Visit their website for more information.

*Photos courtesy of the Lawrenceburg Shakespeare Company North

July 13, 2011

Church Basement Ladies 2

The Lutheran ladies are back with more songs and exclamations of "Uffda!" After last year's show "Church Basement Ladies" proved such a popular musical, Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre decided to offer audiences a second helping. The same cast has returned to bring their characters back to life.

Part SNL Church Basement Lady and part sweet Midwestern hometown tale, the plot follows four very different women through a few life changes in 1969 and 1970. One of the show's greatest strengths is the diverse group brought together on the stage. One woman is old, another young, a couple have been married for years, another is a newly wed, another widowed. In addition to the females, there is the pastor, who still trying to find his footing in the church as America moves into a new decade. Each character brings a unique perspective to the table.

The cast seem like it's having fun, which is crucial for the success of a show like this. The playful atmosphere they create is contagious. Though some of the jokes and bits aren't as fresh as they were the first time around, there's still enough new material to entertain, especially with numbers like "Get Back in the Game."

Church Basement Ladies 2 is the perfect, clean show for church groups and families alike. It touches on serious issues as well as the amusing, sprinkling in life lessons along with the laughs. Up next at B&B is the always entertaining show, Singin' in the Rain. Tickets are sure to go fast, so don't wait to get yours.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Aug. 28. Doors open for evening performances at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The buffet is served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. For Wednesday matinees doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the buffet is served from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The show begins at 1 p.m. For Sunday matinees doors open at 12 p.m. and the buffet is served from 12:15 to 1 p.m. The show begins at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets: To purchase tickets call (317) 872-9664 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Prices range from $35 to $58 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet. This production offers discounts, call the box office for more details.

Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre