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Reduced Shakespeare Company to teach Bromley not to fear the bard

PUBLISHED: 12:08 20 September 2013 | UPDATED: 12:08 20 September 2013

The Reduced Shakespeare Company will perform the complete works of William Shakespeare at The Churchill Theatre.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company will perform the complete works of William Shakespeare at The Churchill Theatre.

Karl Andre Photography Ltd. 2013

Kings playing American Football, Othello rapping and a medieval cookery show will all make an appearance as The Reduced Shakespeare Company bring their unique take on the prolific bard to Bromley.

Founded by three friends at a Californian Renaissance fair in 1981, the group have gone on to play at The White House – as well in countless theatres across the globe.

Their aim is “knock Shakespeare from his pedastool”, according to member Matt Rippy, who says the playwright is nothing to be afraid of.

“A lot of people couldn’t tell you what century he wrote in, and that’s appalling. I think people are afraid of Shakespeare, so we like to show people you it’s not daunting and we have a lot of fun.”

Beginning with a 10 minute condensed version of Rome and Juliet, the group looked to find ways to condense Shakespeare’s entire works into one show.

However, Matt is keen to point out that this doesn’t mean the actors simply “race” through 37 plays.

“We reduce them through the strategic art of cheating”, explains Matt. “For instance, we through there are a lot of histories and they are long, and a bit boring.

“How can you shorten them? We realised they are full of kings killing each other off, and that’s just like American Football – but with a crown.”

What started as a way to avoid paying entrance fees at the Rennaisance fair has turned into a success story panning 20 years.

For Matt, who joined in 1996, it was a chance to interact with audiences and play some of the world’s best stages.

He added: “We like to obliterate the divide between audiences clutching their tickets and us on stage. We go back to where it all began, performing in the dirt with the audience around us.”

The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare is at The Churchill Theatre, in Bromley High Street, on October 6.

Tickets cost £19.90, visit atgtickets.com/Bromley.

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