Tuesday, November 28

The Complete Works of Shakespeare*…*but just the Deaths (and the gory bits too) – The Space UK

Even though the title may be a tad too long, I could have carried on watching this play for much longer than its 45 minutes.  Taking their name from a quote in Macbeth, the Cream Faced Loons have done a remarkable job to stage this wonderfully refreshing take on Shakespeare’s plays in a digital environment.  Before the pandemic ‘the Loons’ liked to perform in site specific locations such as castles and parks but have adapted their style to You Tube and it showcases their versatility and unique take on the Shakespearean classics.

The challenge is to perform all 10187 deaths that appear in Shakespeare’s 37 plays.  That seems rather a lot I hear you say, but all is made clear later on in the show.  Will you take up the challenge to tick off the deaths as the show goes on?  You had better strap yourself in and pay close attention as the pace is fast and there is a lot of ground to cover.

Taking their lead from Keith the skull, who is the brains of the operation apparently; the cast work their way through many of the Bard’s tragedies, re-imagining scenes from Hamlet and Macbeth but touching on the deaths from all of Will’s plays with a death in them.

It is difficult not be to be impressed by the inventiveness of this theatre company.  They have taken on board something that immediately seems almost impossible to execute, but they have risen to the challenge and presented a fly by the seat of your pants, whistle stop tour of the deaths, whilst also adding in a dose of feminism (as we all know Shakespeare’s writing tended to favour the male roles in his plays), with the ladies sometimes feeling like an appendage.  Hurrah – let’s celebrate some of the strong females. 

Artistic Director and actor Abey Bradbury heavily featured in this piece and I can only be impressed at the vision and execution which can be a challenge to re-create a funny and informative show within the medium of digital; whilst also making it suitable for the whole family and would usually be performed in front of a live audience.  Anyone who dares to say that Shakespeare is boring should watch this show as it has humour by the bucket load, but the comedy does mask just how much time and effort must have been put in to making this.  There is definitely a Shakespeare geek behind this show!

The rap at the end brought together the deaths in one continues jam session, throughout the show music was used and it worked well in connecting the facts and humour together.

All in all, a very well put together production and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone, even the Shakespeare sceptics.  I will certainly be looking out for future shows from the Cream-Faced Loons; and so, should you!

The show is part of the ‘The Space UK Online Festival’ and to watch it go to https://online.thespaceuk.com/watch-shows/theatre – just make sure you forward to the 45 minute point.  You can also view it by going to their website https://www.creamfacedloons.co.uk/whatson   Please consider donating if you watch the play as the show is free, but theatre companies do need our support.

Reviewer: Caroline Worswick

Reviewed: 27th August 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★