Chaos and music are foregrounded in Filter Theatre Company’s ruthlessly abridged (ninety minutes, no interval) version of one of Shakespeare’s most fun and farcical plays. Most people on stage play at least two roles and at least one instrument. Misrule and tempo are the order of the day, rather than any musings on power, identity and love. It’s LOUD, there are FUNNY DANCES and RED NOSES. It’s ideal for the coachload of fifth formers in attendance tonight, they love it. It’s actually really good fun, if a touch Legz Akimbo on occasion. Personally, I live in fear of audience participation (with good reason, I might add), and there is plenty here: borrowed clothes, onstage games, shots of tequila, pizzas passed around the audience and more. We were two rows from the front and I was at the end of the row so my stomach was knotted with tension as I watched three ‘volunteers’ catch balls on stage with Velcro hats. An intense hour and a half with some genuine belly laughs to be had. And some of the best lines were not only saved, but sung ever so sweetly ...
Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O, prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
Did share it.
Not a flower, not a flower sweet
On my black coffin let there be strown;
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown:
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O, where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
To weep there!