The video game’s the thing in Super Richard World III | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

The video game’s the thing in Super Richard World III 

Otherworld Theatre’s Stupid Shakespeare Company makes a low-budget, high-laugh debut.

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click to enlarge Otherworld Theatre’s first “Stupid Shakespeare” is adorable fun.

Otherworld Theatre’s first “Stupid Shakespeare” is adorable fun.

Sam Thomas

Do you remember laughter? Most days—especially the days when I log on to Twitter—levity just isn't a thing.

Fortunately for me, there's Otherworld Theatre Company's new "Stupid Shakespeare" series—which delivers exactly what it promises in its inaugural show Super Richard World III: It's Just Richard III With Nintendo Characters. And you know what? It's a fucking hoot. (Though it closes this weekend, the company is hinting at a return engagement soon, and will open PicklesRickickles, a Rick and Morty/Pericles mash-up this winter.)

Imagine the funniest, smartest kids in your high school putting on a final project for AP lit. Stuff is low-budget, but the joy, thoughtfulness, and delivery are spot-on. Luigi takes on the role of Richard and Princess Peach is the tragic queen (duh), while Link, Bowser, Starfox, and Pikachu show up in supporting roles. The characters perform gorgeous renditions of Shakespearean monologues, only to punctuate them with seamless video game references. The show actually lands. As my buddy whispered to me at the end of Act I, "This is adorable!"

Created by director Joshua Messick and Katie Ruppert, with assists from the cast, it's the perfect upper for any adult who used to shop at Hot Topic and spent too much time taking out their feelings via Super Smash Bros.—brainy as hell and irresistibly irreverent. In this grim cultural moment, this sweet, nostalgic turn surprised the heck out of me and offered my spirit a serious bounce. Fair warning: Don't go in expecting the most moving theatrical performance of all time. Don't go in looking for life-altering artistic work. Meet this show where it is and have some fun already, you nerd.

Need a lift? Let's-uh goooooo!  v

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Galleries & Museums
Bisa Butler: Portraits Art Institute of Chicago
November 16
Performing Arts
April 30

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