ShakesBEER 2.0: The Bard Strikes Back
photo courtesy of Bare Theatre
Laura Parker, Camille Watson, and Kirsten Ehlert in ShakesBEER 2.0 at Zog's in Chapel Hill
Through Friday, Dec. 22
Various locations, Triangle-wide
Now we know: Macbeth’s porter was off by one in his famous list. Drunkenness, the topic of his comic monologue in the Scottish Play’s second act, provokes five things, not four: nose-painting, sleep, urine, lechery—and merriment. The proof is abundant in Bare Theatre’s ShakesBeer 2.0
, a rewarding forty-five-minute revue of Shakespearean sots, currently in the midst of a month-long crawl through nine (count ‘em!)
regional drinking establishments. (We saw it at Zog's in Chapel Hill.)
With considerable poise and boozy bonhomie, four new actors, led by director Dustin Britt, have clearly learned from the show’s first iteration
, in which the crew was at odds with boorish barflies on some nights. Or maybe Camille Watson, Kirsten Ehlert, Laura Parker, and George Labusohr have just spent a lot more time in bars. Either way, this talented quartet seemed very much at home in louche surroundings and totally on top of occasional zingers from the sodden masses.
After an opening toast to "our trusted cups," Watson turned in a snickering, surefooted take on Macbeth’s porter. In other highlights, the addled foursome gave Henry IV, Part 2
the Tennessee Williams treatment—call it Cat on a Hot British Alehouse—with a languid Southern matron, Mistress Quickly (Labusohr) fanning away the vapors caused by Big Daddy Falstaff (Watson).
Cultural cross-wiring was the order of the evening. A Twelfth Night
sequence fizzled into incomprehensibility after a strong start from Parker and Labusohr’s surfer dudes. Parker and Watson convincingly set Romeo and Juliet
’s opening brawl in an episode of The Jersey Shore
, but unclear characterization reduced the comic mileage of the Othello
Still, a crew you should really go out and have a beer with quickly overcame such momentary stumbles. ShakesBeer
’s second incarnation clearly calls for another round.