FRINGE REVIEW – Shakespeare’s Shorts, Beehive Inn

*****

Until 28 Aug, 1700 (1800) @ Beehive Inn, Grassmarket

By Danielle Farrow
 
The advertised ‘troupe’ for Shakespeare’s Shorts turns out to be a couple of actresses, so that’s a slight misnomer, and their show only lasts about half the time advertised. Why forgive such things? Because this fun piece is part of PBH’s Free Fringe, which means you decide what you are going to pay them for their troubles when donations are requested as you leave – if you didn’t like it, you needn’t spend a penny.
 
Yes, that last might just be a weak pun of the lavatorial kind – but this is the sort of thing you can expect from one who has just watched the Bard being ‘butchered by The Professionals’, as was said of the show when it was introduced: that is, one in a good mood who isn’t the greatest at cracking jokes. So let’s leave that to those Professionals: taking us through famous Shakespearean scenes with broad winks at over-acting, over-serious academics, complete incompetents, competitive shopping-channel presenters, an interfering cleaner, and downstairs gossip, these Shorts are not too dirty and they fit well for playing in.
 
The show itself is – that’s right – short, but even so passes quicker than its actual time due to high energy, committed playing, fine character caricatures, good timing and some very decent audience interaction. The humour may overall be quite ‘housewifely’, but it pleased both genders in the audience. There’s also a witches scene that, despite being set in a kitchen (yes, that again!) is actually different from all those other culinary crones running about making appointments on heaths.
 
Shae Kuehlmann and Kate Roxburgh proffer their shorts for your inspection and – if you are into frolicsome fun with Shakespearean references (alongside many modern ones) and some famous scenes set askew – they’re a pair you’re likely to enjoy.

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