The Complete Works of
William Shakespeare (abridged)
"Take 3 professional actors, some current topic events, improvisational humor mixed in with Shakespeare, and you come up with a show that entertains both non-Shakespeare and Shakespeare fans alike....The three actors fully engaged the audience with their antics. I had the impression that they must have had a ball at rehearsal. The audience shared their joy of slap stick comedy and outlandish frivolity.
The play has been widely produced throughout the country and in Europe (and in other languages). I love some of the touches that MSC had provided in their production....Darren Bridgett rides with the audience throughout the show. His improvisational skills are extraordinary. As the audience is invited to interact at times, Bridgett takes their comments and geniusly bellows them into great comebacks.....
My favorite part of the production happens in the second act when they attempt to tell the entire saga of "Hamlet." Schmidt portrays the typical self-absorbed actor preparing for the famous "to be or not to be" speech. His facial expressions are priceless....During intermission, Monroe does a concise 3 minute rendition of The Wizard of Oz. That is not to be missed."
- Maria Vroble, Listen and Be Heard
“Having thoroughly enjoyed the show for nearly ten years, let it suffice to say that THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) never gets old. Each year, indeed each performance, is a new permutation or mutation with new ingredients, new spices, fresh corn and new monkey wrenches tossed into the loosely adhered to script. The play is virtually an improvisation: a work in progress: a kaleidoscope of changing gags.
Marin County's most resourceful director: Robert Currier, remains faithful to the spirit of the script, yet remains unencumbered by the letter of the script….Darren works the audience like a game show host, a television evangelist, a lap dancer, a pick-pocket. If this show had a star and a definitive character, it would be Darren….Darren never performs the same show twice. Darren ensures that every performance is high energy interactive theater.
The show is a seamless and shameless blend of bawdy spontaneity, low brow wit, high brow humor, casual vulgarity and audience involvement. While some knowledge of the Bard's work is useful, no one need be a Shakespearean expert to enjoy the show: leave the scholarly stuff to Bob Currier: don't bring a volume of Shakespeare: bring a picnic basket. For a delightful evening of laughter under the moon and stars, get thee to Forest Meadows Amphitheater….If you don't mind sharing your baguette, brie, wine or date with Darren, sit in the front row: we dare you.”
Jeffrey Smith, Bay Area Critic Circle
“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged has made its way back to its roots in Marin County, and the three, Converse-clad representatives at Marin Shakespeare will have you rolling in the aisles. Under the direction of Robert Currier, Darren Bridgett and Jarion Monroe bring in Marin Shakespeare newcomer Ryan Schmidt for a rollicking two hours of scripted, improvised, cross-dressing, very physical, audience-participating, pop-cultured, touching on every work in some wayshapeform production that provides audiences with, among other bits of enjoyment, Othello’s criminal defense as they rap ‘If the pillow don’t fit, you must acquit.’ That right there should convince you to grab your fistful of dollars and head out to Marin Shakes for an evening under the stars. Be mindful, however, that those in the front row or so will get many a mouthful of Bridgett’s pockets full of ‘vomit,’ and if you have a slicker, you might want to bring it along in case you get caught in the squirt gun crossfire that immerses you in sixteen Comedies in four minutes. These boys don’t for a moment come up for air. Even their intermission is a mad dash ‘round the Forest Meadows’ grounds….Monroe adds a bit of fun and awkward cynicism to the cast, while Schmidt brings along a goofy boyish charm, but it’s Bridgett who steals the show. When he’s not vomiting somewhere on the front row, Bridgett is stealing wine from the audience, or running ’round the stage in an hysterical frenzy as he tackles every female character with vigor, wearing a bad wig and some cup runneth over falsies. I about fell over when Bridgett took the stage dressed as a tube sock in representation of the ghost of Hamlet’s father. And his one moment of seriousness permitted Bridgett to conquer Hamlet’s soliloquy ‘What a piece of work is man’ for an audience who fell silent in reverence….I think my friend said it best when he stated, ‘My jaw hurts.’ We both laughed, and laughed loudly for this two hour tour through Shakespeare’s works. This is the perfect opportunity to brush up on your Shakespeare, and these three boys will win your hearts.”
Denise Battista, playShakespeare.com