By Connie Bollinger
But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? The Playhouse at Westport Plaza has been laid waste by five beer-swilling, soliloquy-spouting, perfectly wonderful professional actors/comedians/clowns and one “lucky” audience member.
In the hand and mind of Creator/Director/Actor Matthew Morgan, the beloved “Romeo and Juliet” is stripped bare of its dignity, doused in beer and vodka, and hung out to dry before a stomping, cat- calling, delighted audience in “Shotspeare.”
The show is completely interactive, as cast members roam about the audience at will, chatting, putting us all at ease. This is NOT your Grandma’s Shakespeare.
The plot of the story remains the same: Romeo meets Juliet, they fall in love, they are forbidden by their families to love and so they both commit suicide. Not funny at all.
Until you’ve seen it performed by the Marx Brothers; or the Animaniacs.
One of the best bits in the show involves the “Wheel of Soliloquy.” One of the actors explains that “we all know how boring and long the Shakespeare Soliloquy can be,” so they came up with the wheel, a segmented wheel that is spun every time anyone breaks out in a Soliloquy. Categories include Socks, Spanks, and my favorite, Stranger Danger.
I won’t tell what happens to the actor unfortunate enough to spin the wheel, but the whole audience was literally roaring with laughter.
Creator/director/actor Matthew Morgan actually attended and graduated from the Ringling Bros. Clown College, and went on to tour with the circus for two years. His love of performing, writing and creating takes him around the world. He is always striving to affect and entertain us through classical theater and circus.
The cast includes Heidi Brucker Morgan, a founding member of Shotspeare as well as an actress, clown, comedienne and variety artist. She has also appeared in a feature film, Garry Marshall’s “Valentine’s Day.” She brings a bawdy, wise-cracking innocence to her Juliet.
Brandon Breault performs as Romeo. Breault’s ever-changing face puts one in mind of Jim Carrey, although Breault is much better-looking. He has performed drama and comedy, and was a feature film, “The Ledger.”
Brian David Sloan has a long and impressive show business resume including studying classical theater in London. He is a comedian, and a story-teller. His dual role as Tybault/The Nurse is a cross-dressing romp.
Timur Kocak is an exceptional performer whose credits include a one-man version of “A Christmas Carol.” He shares his talents with the U.S. and the U.K. He has appeared on “Law and Order: SVU,” and NBC’s “Chuck.” He has a relaxed and confident stage presence and a willingness to be pummeled with flying objects during his soliloquy.
What great fun! Shakespeare would have loved it!
Shotspeare runs every weekend until Dec. 8 at the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings only. Note: there will be no performances Thanksgiving weekend. Tickets may be purchased through MetroTix at www.metrotix.com or by calling 314-534-1111. Additionally, tickets will be available at the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza box office one hour prior to show time. All seats are $25. Student Rush tickets also available one hour before show time at the box office for $10 (ages 21 and up). For more information, visit www.playhouseatwestport.com