by The Court Jesters
Directed by: Greg Cooper
at The Forge at The Court Theatre, Christchurch
From 29 Feb 2008 to 29 Mar 2008
The Transmission Room, Auckland
From 20 May 2009 to 23 May 2009
Reviewed by: Lindsay Clark; Nik Smythe;
Manic Mash-up of Theatre and Film in Pulp William
The Court Jesters take William Shakespeare and Quentin Tarantino, mix them with the insanity of Scared Scriptless and create an improvised show of epic proportions in the first Forge show of 2008 - PULP WILLIAM.
Conceived and performed by three of The Court Jesters - Brendon Bennetts, Dan Bain and Javier Jarquin - when the PULP WILLIAM concept was presented to The Court Theatre's Artistic Director Ross Gumbley, he knew the show was perfect to launch The Forge's 2008 season. "It's witty, entertaining and inventive theatre," says Gumbley.
This "Shakespearean crime-thriller comedy" has been aided and abetted to The Forge stage with direction by veteran improviser, writer and director (as well as a previous member of The Court Jesters) Greg Cooper. Cooper immediately saw the comic potential of PULP WILLIAM. "It takes the style and language of Shakespeare and pumps it up with the characters and the pop-culture references of Tarantino," says Cooper, "then ups the ante further with audience suggestions deciding where the story goes. The result is a plot with more twists than a night at Jack Rabbit Slims".
PULP WILLIAM opens in a warehouse with three criminals in a tense standoff culminating in a shootout familiar to anyone who has seen Reservoir Dogs. Who they are and what led to the inevitable doublecrosses, however, is all up to the audience. The cast must weave seemingly random suggestions together, spouting Shakespearean verse all the way. "Like Pulp Fiction, the narrative might not be always linear," explains Cooper, "so it may flash back in time to show how one character developed an audience-suggested fear of clowns".
"When we started rehearsals we thought we would just talk about our ideas," says performer Brendon Bennetts, "instead Greg asked us to show him - we did three runs on the first day". With four weeks of rehearsals packed with star-crossed lovers, bad-ass gangsters, Mexican stand-offs, Italian surnames, cunning plots, poison, handguns, sonnets and protracted death speeches with extended metaphors, Bennetts calls the result a "leaner, meaner, faster and funnier production that anything we've done before". Those worried about bad language need not worry - all swearing is in the Shakespearean fashion, so "only those fluent in 16th Century English will be offended", adds Cooper.
Shakespeare scholars, film buffs and fans of Scared Scriptless: PULP WILLIAM has something for
everyone. With three performances scheduled per week (Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 8pm) in a season running from February 29 - March 29 and a special flat ticket price of $15 seats will be in high demand for this explosively funny start to The Forge Season for 2008.
PULP WILLIAM by The Court Jesters
Venue: The Forge at The Court Theatre
Performances: 29 February - 29 March, 2008
shows Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 8pm
Tickets: $15 from The Court Theatre
Bookings: Phone 963 0870 or online www.courttheatre.org.nz
Dates: May 20 - 23, 2009, 10pm
Venue: The Transmission Room
Tickets: $25 Adults, $20 concession, $18 groups (10+)
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385) www.ticketek.co.nz
Featuring: Daniel Bain, Brendon Bennetts and Javier Jarquin