Even if you’ve seen “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” before, the Hub Theatre Company Boston’s current production of the oft-produced comedy is a delightful way to beat the heat on a warm summer’s evening.
Director Lauren Elias assembled a trio of actors who make the merriment feel fresh and new with their contagious enthusiasm and earnest commitment to the silliness of the playful parody.
In case you’ve somehow missed it, “The Complete Works,” which originally enjoyed a nine-year run in London, compresses all of the Bard’s plays into a 90-minute comedy that culminates in the world’s shortest performance of “Hamlet.” The script encourages the actors to improvise and the absence of the fourth wall gives them license to play freely with the audience.
Patrick Curran is charming in a multitude of roles, most noteworthy his turn as Romeo. Adam Lauver is a (ahem) handsome Juliet, though his Ophelia is a sight to behold. Brooks Reeves is the glue holding the ensemble together even if he’s only a “pre” eminent Shakespearean scholar.
The costumes and props give the production a perfect backyard kid show feel while the flawlessly executed sound and lights remind you it’s anything but. Elias’ direction makes it look effortless despite her obvious attention to detail.
Spirited banter with the audience keeps you on your toes, while pop culture references, (especially one that compares the fate of a Shakespearean character to a former contestant on “Ru Paul’s Drag Race”) make it feel contemporary.
Plan on arriving an hour before curtain time for a special treat. Michael Anderson’s engaging one-man show “Hallucinating Shakespeare” and a couple of cold beverages (adult or otherwise) make the perfect pre-show warm-up.
If you go
Through August 2
209 Columbus Ave., Boston
$20 or pay what you can