Shakespeare’s plays have never been whackier and more wonderful than in the Sevenoaks Shakespeare Society’s recent production of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare.” Who knew that the Bard’s intense History plays could work well as a sports match, or that Othello could be retold as a rap? Every inch of the production was drenched in Shakespeare-parody, from the interval playlist including hits such as ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by the Dire Straits and ‘Tragedy’ by the Bee Gees, to the comedic takes on Shakespeare’s iconic lines. This innovative interpretation of Shakespeare’s work, featuring all kinds of ‘out of the box’ ideas, made for an entertaining and enjoyable summer watch.
The charm of the production lay both in the writing, which was ingenious and hilarious, and the enthusiasm and energy put forward by the cast. Their effervescence and complete commitment to their parts (whether that included playing Cleopatra and ‘vomiting’ on audience members or performing Hamlet backwards) enthralled the audience, and we relished in the community-feel that the interactive performance had, especially after the past 18 months of ‘isolation’ and ‘social-distancing’. One of my personal favourite moments was when an audience member was called on stage to play Ophelia, whilst the rest of the audience was conducted to shout different elements Ophelia’s thought process, resulting in a wonderful sort of mayhem, and hopefully not disturbing the neighbours of The White Rock Inn too much!
The production was an absolute success, a much-needed break from the everyday and an all-round enjoyable experience, which has made me, much like the rest of the audience I’m sure, very excited for the next Sevenoaks Shakespeare Society performance.