The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) 

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Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield's bawdy 1987 deconstruction of the Shakespeare canon remains comic gold. And in this A Crew of Patches Theatre Company production, David Blixt, Benjamin Montague, and Scott Leon Smith get drunk on the script's intoxicating rhythms. But here the redraft of Othello as a hip-hop musical devolves into blackface--the actors wear hood ornaments and Rasta wigs--and an inhibited crowd at the show I attended meant that the audience-participation segment (basically the entire second act) floundered. The three actors have intellectualized their roles too much, allowing the characters to take on the sort of totemic weight the originators would have found abhorrent. And during the show's madcap finale, when it should seem the three are racing against the clock, it feels like they're simply meeting a deadline. Through 1/29: Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 4:30 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Special Christmas schedule 12/22-12/26: Wed 3 and 7:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, no show Fri-Sat, Sun 2 and 5 PM. Special New Year's schedule 12/28-1/2: Tue-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 6 and 9:30 PM, no show Sat, Sun 3 PM. Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport, 773-325-1700. $10-$28.50; dinner package available; industry nights Thu.

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