“Complete Shakespeare” Works Well for Cincy Audiences


Review By Liz Eichler of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)”: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

“There’s a lotta love in this room” the actors agree in a riff with the audience during “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Very True. The Opening Night audience LOVED the show, because the performers clearly LOVE what they are doing. They are joyful, silly, a wee bit naughty, but quite masterful at making the performance personal, engaging, and laugh-out-loudfunny.

Justin McCombs alone is worth the ticket price, as he reigns as one of Cincinnati’s best comedic actors. He’s a master of physical comedy, and has impeccable timing with a bad pun as well as a beautiful speech. Add Miranda McGee, another member of Cincy’s royal family of top performers, and you have a strong bill.  CSC hits the trifecta with the amazing Geoffrey Warren Barnes II who showcases his range of skill, including a reference to a character from CSC’s The Tempest, an Easter Egg for ardent followers. The team delivers the clever script (by Reduced Shakespeare Company members Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield) and tailors the banter to the appreciative CSC audience.

The production is rich in sight and sound, with giant tomes by scenic designer Shannon More (we expect to see these signature pieces again), fabulous costumes by Denise Vulhop Watkins (lots of quick changes), a myriad of silly props by Lacey Ballard, lighting with personality by Justen N. Locke, and sound by the inimitable Doug Borntrager.  All parts are brought together by Sara Clark, orchestrating the fun, directing the mayhem, and personalizing the show for Cincinnati.

Without giving up too much, the team presents at least a portion of all of Shakespeare’s plays (and is prepared to do the Sonnets as well).  One is presented in four different ways, another is “Hamilton-ized,” the histories are all combined into one football game, and Barnes does some testifying.

“Complete Works” runs through August 11 (so be sure to catch it!)  Go to www.cincyshakes.com for tickets.  It’s the perfect summer show to gather up a group of family or friends, to enjoy the slapstick antics of this talented crew. Whether you’re a Shakespeare scholar or not, you will become a fan of CSC.