Shakespeare, channeling the Marx Brothers, in Morris Township

Connor Carew, Patrick Toon and Jon Barker in 'The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised).' Photo by Jerry Dalia
Connor Carew, Patrick Toon and Jon Barker in 'The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised).' Photo by Jerry Dalia
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Connor Carew, Patrick Toon and Jon Barker in 'The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised).' Photo by Jerry Dalia
Connor Carew, Patrick Toon and Jon Barker in ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised).’ Photo by Jerry Dalia

By Kevin Coughlin

If the Marx Brothers had attempted Shakespeare, it might have turned out like The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)(revised), the madcap romp that runs (jumps, rocks and rolls) under the stars in Morris Township this month.

And we would have warmed to the Bard at a much earlier age.

In a troubled summer when laughs are in short supply, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is doing a great service by presenting this show, one of the funniest evenings we have spent in a long time.

A cast of three blasts through all 37 Shakespeare plays in 97 minutes. It really is a blast– and an education. Who knew that Hamlet was Shakespeare’s greatest comedy?

Or that Othello could rap?

The gags come fast and furious, and you don’t have to be an English major to get most of them. Jeffrey M. Bender directs this three-man* production, with Connor Carew earning the asterisk for playing virtually every female lead in the Shakespearean canon.

Jon Barker and Patrick Toon round out the extraordinary trio.  Veterans of the Shakespeare Theatre, they know the Bard forwards and backwards. Slow-motion, too.

They also are great athletes, clambering atop sets, skittering down slides, and gamboling into the audience. With two shows on Sundays, in the summer heat.

Romeo skateboards. MacBeth takes to the links. And you don’t want to miss the War of the Roses Bowl.

So get thee to the amphitheater at the College of Saint Elizabeth by July 31, 2016. Showtimes are 8 pm Tuesday through Saturday, and Sunday at 4:30 pm and 8 pm. Tickets are $25-$35. Call 973-408-5600 for more. The college is at 2 Convent Road.

 

 

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