Conversations In Tusculum
5 out of 5
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A laugh-out-loud parody par excellence of Shakespeare's tragedies.
Wickedly whimsical, delightfully devious, with six blended tragedies, thirty-one parts, forty location changes and one enormous sword-swinging battle of twenty thousand men.
"Much like the bit in Reduced Shakespeare's COMPLETE WORKS (ABRIDGED) that combines all of the Bard's comedies into one gigantic super-comedy, SHAKESPEARE'S 'KING PHYCUS' is a pithy mash-up of the more memorable Tragedies.
In this hilarious parody, Hamlet and Juliet are siblings, the former married to the Scottish Macbetty, the latter betrothed to the deformed Gloucester by their father the great King Phycus, whose Queen, Gertrude, has recently been murthered.
Meanwhile, incongruously, Brutus is an Italian ambassador and Romeo a Roman spy.
If this seems like a lot to handle, it is - and that's not even all of it.
Yet the ingenuity of Tom Willmorth's script is well matched by an ensemble of energetic performers and increasingly clever staging ...
Miraculously, the plot somehow comes together, despite its many comedic detours.
Although it does end with a bunch of dead bodies onstage, SHAKESPEARE'S 'KING PHYCUS' is no tragedy."
-Neal Ryan Shaw, Newcity (Chicago) ..". from the delightful opening pantomime, set to a recording of Frank Sinatra singing 'If I Had You, ' of a young couple meeting, courting, and deciding to marry, it's clear that a refreshingly original sensibility is at work.
Mitnick has a lot more on his mind than obvious laughs in this consistently inventive and surprising comedy-drama."
-Erik Haagensen, Backstage "Mitnick seems to be the rare young playwright more interested in his elders than in his contemporaries."
-Alexis Soloski, Village Voice "Mitnick displays classy wit, gentle humanity, and flashes of formal innovation."
-Scott Brown, New York