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Shakespeare's Monkeys
Published on Saturday, 20 August 2011

4 stars

Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters (venue website)
7-12, 14-19, 21-26, 28 Aug, 12:15pm-1:15pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

The stars of Shakespeare’s Monkeys are character comics Kate Roxburgh – whose solo show we loved in Brighton this year – and Shae Kuehlman, an Aussie. Their show is a collection of Shakepeare-themed sketches, which take in everything from disgruntled am-dram housewives standing at the back during Henry V, to a daft cookery demonstration.

They’re a great combo, and the chemistry between them is obvious in their quick-fire banter and silly digs at one another. Their opener is the stand-out: after some bizarre introductory chat they launch into a Macbeth parody, and really show their chops as they chew through pages of dialogue, making it sound like the snappy back and forth of a Tarantino script.  Later, their interplay with the audience, especially during a hilarious witches sketch is nicely done and sweetly good humoured.

Many sketch groups seem to succeed or fail based on how silly they are willing to make themselves look. Satisfyingly, Shakespeare’s Monkeys are very happy to make complete chumps of themselves. 

The overall effect is a well-thought-out show with some skilful acting, enjoyable daftness and gleeful charismatic performances, but it’s that Shakespearean hook that really makes it stand out on the fun-stuffed fringe.

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