‘Complete Works’ receives mixed reviews

By: Hannah Paige Michels ~Head Photo Editor~

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Photo courtesy of Mikki Schaffner | Senior Eric Minion (left), senior Alex Roberts (center) and junior Sara Ringenbach (right) perform 37 plays in 97 minutes in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised].
Last week, Xavier Theatre hosted a second round of Shakespeare performances with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]. While the leadup to the comical show seemed promising, the play ultimately fell flat. Most audience members were cackling throughout the performance in a sea of laughter. I, on the other hand, was desperately trying to find humor in a show that came off as boisterously juvenile. Knowing Xavier Theatre to put on rather intense performances that demand a lot from its actors, I expected the choice in comedy to be more clever and witty.

The ensemble of actors included Alex Roberts, Eric Minion and Sara Ringenbach. The performances, fortunately, made up for some of the childish comedy. The introduction to the show with Minion was charming and clever, and planting Roberts within the audience was handled well. Ringenbach truly flipped a switch and embodied her characters well on stage.

I appreciated the local Cincinnati and Xavier references to make the performance feel unique to the audience. The audience participation (and, well, embarrassment) was novel but fun enough. Ultimately, the actors did the best they could with what lousy writing the play provided them.

All in all, the show felt like a waste of its actors. Throughout the show I kept wondering: Just how has this show been the longest- running comedy in London? And, maybe I should have read some more Shakespeare because this just felt like a game of dressup. Absurd costumes, random props and having Minion’s character continually vomit in the laps of audience members was obnoxious from the moment it started and only became more frustrating to watch each time it repeated.

This being said, this performance does not do Xavier Theatre justice. I have seen many impressive performances from the program, but Complete Works is not one of them. I do look forward to more performances from Xavier Theatre, but perhaps the program should be more wary when choosing to perform a comedy.

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By: Kevin Thomas ~Staff Writer~

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised] was one of the funniest shows that I have ever seen. It was absolutely hilarious, and having a cast of only three members who played about a dozen characters each made it so much better. Alex Roberts, Eric Minion and Sara Ringenbach all did incredible jobs in their many roles.

Without a doubt, my favorite part of the show was their version of Macbeth. They carefully avoided saying the name due to the curse that comes with saying it in a theater, though, I still have no idea if they actually did say it. In their version, the characters all spoke with completely unintelligible Scottish accents while playing golf.

Minion was excellent, though he could be a little much at times. For some reason, his character vomited dozens of times throughout the show on characters in the audience. It wasn’t that funny of a gag, though it did make me giggle a few times when he pretended to vomit mainly in the lap of his girlfriend’s mother, who was in the audience, though the giggles arose only because of her being in the audience.

Roberts did a phenomenal job throughout the show, and I especially loved her flirting with a person seated in the crowd. I found it to be a delightful addition to the show. I thought that her attempts to stall at the beginning of the second act were very funny and that her magic trick was impressive.

As for the final member of the trio, Ringenbach did an incredible job and was probably my favorite in the show for her running away from the entire show at the end of the first act.

The second act, which was spent entirely on Hamlet, was especially hilarious. Complete Works, which opened the weekend after Hamlet closed, had perfect timing. Although I didn’t see Hamlet, it was clear that the trio did and redid it beautifully.

“It was really funny,” senior Katie Mitchell, who played the titular role in Hamlet a week before, said. “There were a couple really small moments that almost looked like, that’s not only Hamlet but that’s a mannerism I have, which I still don’t know if it would be on purpose, but I found it really, really funny. I loved it.”

All’s well that ends well, and Complete Works definitely did end well.

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