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The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)

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Back for only two more weekends, this crafty romp adds up to two hours of laughter therapy as the Crew of Patches Theatre Company slices ham, relishes every obscure joke the Bard ever wrote, and spoofs pretentious Shakespeare scholarship. Reveling in their love-hate relationship with the most sacred cow of the literary herd, the unashamedly accomplished Scott Leon Smith, Melanie Esplin, David Blixt, and Benjamin Montague confuse Shakespeare's life with Hitler's invasion of Poland, reduce 15 comedies to one generic hodgepodge, treat histories as sports plays, and deliver a hip-hop Othello, a grungy Titus Andronicus cooking show, and a tag-team Romeo and Juliet replete with semaphore gestures signifying nothing. Blending cocksure confidence and contagious panic, these zanies finally pounce on Hamlet, turning the audience into Ophelia's id, ego, and superego, speaking lines faster and faster, then running everything backward. Deconstruction can go no further. This prop-heavy, go-for-broke, neovaudevillian delight has the irreverence of Monty Python and the hipness of the Daily Show. City Lit Theater Company, Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr, 773-293-3682. Through August 1: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 6 PM. $20.

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