Shakespeare is so well known that it takes guts and effort to reinterpret in new ways that allow the brilliance to shine through for audiences in an accessible way, and Action To The Word manage this dynamically and dazzle with it in their production of Shakespeare Shorts, now on at independent venue Camden People’s Theatre.
Directed by Alexandra Spencer-Jones, and with only a cast of ten, they effortlessly sparkle through some of the most emotional, hard hitting, resonant and profound scenes of the Bard’s work with a vibrancy that brings a fresh perspective to the eyes gathered in this small theatre. Dressed in black with minimal lighting, the ensemble clearly demonstrate the wisdom of the words and seem to accentuate this via the stark simplicity of all that they do. No set. No costume. Simply the power of their interpretation.
Punctuated with modern pop music to emphasise the shifts between scenes and plays (amongst others the soundtrack features Drop Dead Gorgeous by Republica, 10CC’s The Thing We Do For Love, and the classic True from Spandau Ballet) they rally through Hamlet, Macbeth, Titus Andronicus, Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and well as others from the canon,with startling clarity and crispness. Managing to move between light comedy to powerful tragedy with fluidity and agility, keeping each clearly resonant, the Bard is brought up to date – or rather his universal themes are made blatantly obvious – love, sex, drugs, fun, violence and danger.
The company developed the production in Cambridge when most were still students, and it remains as slick and hard hitting as when they first performed it back in 2008. Click below for tickets.