Review-An Evening with the Bard-HKPFF


By: Cindy Kim


An Evening with the Bard promises to make Shakespeare palatable to everyone – “Anyone who loves Shakespeare, or..." I have to confess I fall squarely into the latter category, which is why I was dubious of this claim. When one of the characters in “Sorry, Shakespeare!” jokes that he still can’t tell the difference between Hamlet and Macbeth, I genuinely mean it when I say I can’t. But even I knew something was strange when Petruchio and “Hermia” visit their good friend Macbeth to woo the recently and hastily divorced Lady Macbeth. It’s seeing the insane somersaults in logic to have the jumbled-up scripts make sense which makes this such a fun experience for audience members.


Of course, “Sorry, Shakespeare!” isn’t the only performance in this evening with the Bard. Act One of the evening is a collation of bite-sized iconic monologues, running the gamut of Shakespeare’s plays from Titus Andronicus to Othello. From Nikhil Sridhar’s charismatic delivery of The Tempest to Jennie Davis’ sneering scorn through an extract of Titus Andronicus, it showcases a pretty comprehensive range of Shakespeare’s work. Performing in a small black box theater with practically no set, the actors manage to avoid the dreaded “standing stiffly downstage centre for monologues” in the words of director, Meaghan McGurgan. Static delivery is avoided with a flourish. The lighting is blinding at times, making it hard to see nuances from behind the glare.


Pretty amusingly, Taylor Swift’s Love Story played during the intermission, along with other Shakespeare related songs, which set the irreverent, poke-fun tone for the other half of the evening. “Sorry, Shakespeare!” is a play within a play, and all the actors play actors. When Jason, played by Joe Fiorello, spectacularly mixes up the unnumbered pages, the director is out for a pizza and a beer. It’s delightfully meta, featuring actors breaking character in character, over-the-top histrionics, drama of the mundane over assigned roles onstage, and protracted death scenes. Wanting a sufficiently fantastic ending, the sword fight between Duncan and Macbeth is suggested by easily distracted Josh, played by Boaz Lo. It's played out with great relish then ends with an inter-cast slap fight. Overall, it's a highly entertaining performance, with over-the-top energy practically radiating from all members of the cast. 


An Evening with the Bard takes place at We Draman in San Po Kong, which is located in an industrial building. It’s an intimidating place to get to, but it’s definitely an unconventional and new space to explore in Hong Kong.


An Evening with the Bard is playing through Saturday. For more information about the Fringe Festival, click here.


Related articles:

theatre, review, hongkong

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 4.7


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    17 November 2017

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