Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Jerry's Girls... As It Were

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

In 1998, Jerry Lewis, in what was apparently an attempt at controversy to draw attention to himself, stated that women aren't funny.  And he recently doubled down on the opinion.  He needs to drag his 90 year old ass out to Steel Beam and see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield.

This rapid-fire pastiche of All Things Bardish was originally performed by three men.  Director Jesse Hicks has cast three of the funniest women in the area to take their places.  (It's actually four, but you only see three at each performance.  Two of the performers trade off.)  The director does an expert job at keeping things moving and funny.  

But I can't say enough about the cast.  As a director, I sometimes find it difficult getting actors to perform at stage-size instead of TV size.  Enormous is the amount of energy necessary to propel an audience through an evening of fast paced comedy.  The energy level here goes through the roof.  The goal is never to make the audience feel as they got their money's worth; it's to make them feel as if they owe you more.  That is accomplished here in spades.

Julie Bayer, Jennifer Reeves-Wilson and Heidi Swarthout are not Good Actresses.  Julie Bayer, Jennifer Reeves-Wilson and Heidi Swarthout are absolutely top-notch professional-level CLOWNS.  There is no higher praise that I can give.  They are not "funny - for women."  They are funny.  Period.  Actually, I don't know if their periods are funny, but I'm willing to bet that they are.

If you are interested in spending your entertainment money wisely, this is a great bet for you.

If you are an actor interested in studying comedic performance in order to better your own - this is MUST see.

You may eventually see performers equal to Julie, Heidi and Jennifer (and probably Lori Holm, whom I didn't see).  You won't see better.

"The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)"
When: Sept. 16-Oct. 9
Where: Steel Beam Theatre, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles
Tickets: $28 adult; $25 seniors (62 and over); $23 students
Information: 630-587-8521 or steelbeamtheatre.com

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