The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)

Uxbridge Centre, 35 Uxbridge Road, Howick, Auckland

03/03/2011 - 13/03/2011

Production Details


Howick and Eastern Suburbs theatregoers are in for a rollicking time this March when the Eastern Suburbs newest theatre company – Piece of Work Productions – make their debut at the Uxbridge Gallery with their presentation of London’s longest running comedy – the hilarious The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).

This irreverent fast paced play romps through all 37 of the Bard’s plays in 97 minutes as three madcap men in tights weave their wicked way through all of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies in one wild ride that will leave the audience breathless and helpless with laughter.

The cast of three comprises Eastern Suburbs actors Ian Milnes and Stuart Bradbury and JD Dutton, from the North Shore. With lightning fast costume changes, each actor plays a myriad of roles as they create mayhem with Shakespeare’s plots.  Titus Andronicus – Shakespeare’s bloodiest play – is presented as a cooking show, Othello is a rap and the Histories a game of rugby.

Originally conceived as an entertainment for medieval fairs in the USA, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) has gone on to international success.

 “wildly funny” – Los Angeles Times… “the funniest show you are likely to see in your entire lifetime” – Montreal Gazette… “Pithier than Python. Irresistible.” New York Times… “If you like Shakespeare, you’ll like this show. If you hate Shakespeare, you’ll  love this show!” The Today Show… “Shamelessly heretical!” Time Out – London… “Shakespeare as it was back in the Bard’s day: bawdy, irreverent, sublimely entertaining.” Miami Herald

Director, Anton Bentley, is a familiar name with Howick theatergoers and many remember his productions at Howick Little Theatre, which include Art, The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Woman who Cooked Her Husband.  Most recently he was Head of Drama at Botany Downs Secondary College where his student productions included Vinegar Tom, Cabaret and Children of the Poor.

In 2010 Anton decided to throw caution to the wind and start his own company, Piece of Work Productions.  Knowing that Eastern Suburbs audiences like a good laugh to start the year he choose The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) as Piece of Work’s first production.  Anton hopes to tour the production to theatres around Greater Auckland later in the year.

Through Piece of Work Anton hopes to create further directing opportunities and also to give opportunities to emerging performing artists and theatre practitioners.  Anton will also be utilizing his teaching background by working in schools running workshops to support NCEA Drama. 

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)
performs in the Gallery at Howick’s Uxbridge Centre ,
3 – 6 and 10 – 13 March 2011. 
Thursday to Saturday at 8pm and Sundays at 5pm. 
Tickets $20 for adults and $15 for concessions. 
Bookings can be made through Uxbridge on (09) 535 6467.  

Skill, humour and boundless energy

Review by Joanna Page 06th Mar 2011

Piece of Work Production’s first foray into the spotlight is a success – and a romp.

From the moment Ian Milne takes the stage to make a few announcements about flash photography, exits and aircraft oxygen masks, you know this tribute to the Bard isn’t going to take itself too seriously.

Originally performed in UK, but Kiwi-ized for the local audience, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare is part play, part seminar, part workshop, and a whole lot of fun. Just three performers re-enact all of Shakespeare’s plays with the help of (often comedy) props and lightning-quick costume changes. 

Milne and Stuart Bradbury are the more seasoned performers whose knowledge of Shakespeare’s work, life and times are far more thorough than the enthusiastic, misguided JD Dutton. Dutton’s Google searches somehow mash up Shakespeare’s life with Hitler’s, and bring a nautical element to Othello. His most memorable gaffe is the brilliant explanation of Shakespeare’s little-known Chernobyl Kinsmen. 

We’re guided through Romeo and Juliet, Titus Andronicus, Othello, all 16 comedies – including one aptly named “Four Weddings and a Transvestite” – the Scottish Play, Julius Caesar, Anthony and Cleopatra, all the histories, and, ultimately, Hamlet

Yet the cast and director Anton Bentley make it all relevant to the modern audience. We have a cooking show, a rap, a seminar, a rugby game and a magnificent workshop that involves the entire audience’s participation. 

And there are four takes on Hamlet. Now that’s value! 

The venue is intimate and relaxed and while the cast tripped over some lines, their happy accidents made the performance even more welcoming than their skill, humour and boundless energy. 

The show has a few more performances to go and the programme suggests you tell your friends if you love it and your enemies if you don’t. I count you as a friend. 
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