Thursday, October 28, 2010

REVIEW: The Complete History of America (Abridged) + The Bible: the Complete Word of God (Abridged)

This time, I was not too worried. The last time I saw an RSC (Reduced Shakespeare Company, not to be confused with the Royal Shakespeare Company) production, I was apprehensive whether I am familiar enough with the works of William Shakespeare to enjoy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). The beauty of these RSC Abridged productions (so far, there are seven of them on-going: Shakespeare, American history, Bible, Musicals, Great Books, Hollywood and Sports) is that they have something for everyone and everything for the knowledgeable ones.

There is no denying that the jokes, parodies and sarcasms are most funny if you are aware of the subject matter, not to mention that one can feel superior while explaining to the guy beside you what was the joke all about.

For this tour, there are two shows rotating, The Complete History of America (Abridged) and The Bible: the Complete Word of God (Abridged). I went to the former one on October 24 afternoon and the latter one on October 27 at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. Both shows were surprisingly not full, but that did not deter Dominic Conti, Jeff Marlow and Mick Orfe to provide brisk and bouncy performances. The format didn’t change, it was a series of little sketches set in a timeline at a breakneck speed… not to mention that they just love to make fun of the audience (hint: do not be late).

Using the Shakespeare version as a benchmark, I would say that the America was better and the Bible was worse. What I realized after watching America and Bible is that there is indeed a very thin line between silly and sick; and subtle and stupid… at least to my taste. I questioned myself whether it was because I hold the Bible with higher respect or because I know less about the Bible; and my conclusion was neither.

While America was fresh and funny, the Bible sounded quite stale and old-fashioned. A good example is the joke about making a wallet out of foreskin and therefore when rubbed, it will become a suitcase. That joke was so unoriginal and stale that even both my American and British friends have heard it when they were young (and they are very old now!).

The best part of the Bible was the song on how to differentiate the names that are common or confusing in the Bible like the Mary’s and Joseph’s. With Joseph, the song went “Joseph in the old, he had a great life story. Joseph in the new accepted his wife’s story.” It was true, subtle and witty. On the other hand, I really had a great time with America. I find the sketches quite sharp and even insightful, the pacing was fast but not to the detriment of the materials.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home