Regional Reviews: San Francisco
A Wild Production of
I think I have seen every Reduced Shakespeare show over the years and this is by far the most frantic. The trio faithfully follows the comedic course, dismembering humor from Aristophanes to Zaltzman. They do all of this in about 75 minutes with intermission. They are exhaustingly uproarious. A lot is covered in this short time and it is impossible to catch all the zingers. If you have seen the other RSC shows you will recognize the three basic characters: Tichenor is a scholar, Martin a kind of intimidator, and Conti the overexcited person in the body of a man-child.
There are fart jokes and slapstick pratfalls, of course. There is also great comedy, such as their skillful remake of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine and a ukulele-plucked love letter to a comedic great, and a take on the old joke "Why does the chicken cross the road?" They use the joke as part of the postmodernist drama Waiting for Godot and say "Why don't we cross the road? We're waiting for the chicken." Reed Martin is especially entertaining as a clown who is a philosopher and comedy rebel. Of course, not every rapid scene can be a comic gem; the sketch of a stand-up Abraham Lincoln falls flat.
The trio are truly adept comedians with physical bits and wordplay, plus great improv.
Reduced Shakespeare Company of The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) plays through December 21 st at Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Ave, Mill Valley. For tickets call 415-388-5208 or online at marintheatre.org.