‘Shakespeare Pick and (re)Mix!’ was chaotic.
The ‘2022 Fringe Brisbane’ festival is a chance for independent and local artists to bring their works to the stage, and Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble’s production of ‘Shakespeare Pick and (re)Mix!’ was nothing short of a fantastic night out. Held in the heart of Fortitude Valley at Elements Collective, the audience saw ‘Express Macbeth’, ‘Half Hour Hamlet’ and ‘Instant Romeo & Juliet’ characters each try to convince the audience why their story deserved to be told.
As the crowd entered the makeshift theatre, members of the ensemble shoved signs in their faces, asking for votes…very similar to Australia’s election polling booths. Each play was given 30 seconds to give their elevator pitch to the audience for the chance to perform their play on this night (after a fantastic Hamilton-style rap sequence). On 14 October, Hamlet was victorious.
After a marvellous introduction, the audience was instructed in true Shakespearean style to make night noises, be involved with the production and scream “encore” at the end. (Back in the Elizabethan era, it was customary for the peasants, or audience, to shout out “boo” at the villain, etc.)
Shakespeare lovers and haters alike watched a shortened version of the tragedy ‘Hamlet’, affectionately dubbed ‘Half Hour Hamlet.’ Over 30 minutes, the audience saw the wonderful highlights of the play coupled with some incomparable costume changes. However, what happened next was a true spectacle: the ensemble shortened the story not once, but twice! The ending round saw the story of ‘Hamlet’ performed from start to finish in five minutes flat.
Director Rebecca Murphy has created a truly hilarious evening out for Fringe Brisbane. Murphy has clearly worked and trained these actors to embody Shakespeare’s characters for such a fast-paced performance. The set design was extremely simple, however very useful: four small velcro boxes were utilised and easily moved into many positions –perfect for the creation of different shows. Lighting was basic, using the overhead LED bulbs for the entirety of the show.
The ensemble consisted of Leah Fitzgerald-Quinn, Liliana Macarone, Rebecca Murphy, Dudley Powell, Rebekah Schmidt and Angus Thorburn. All members of the ensemble came out for this production with an absolutely crazy amount of energy that did not falter. Each ensemble member brought their character to life in this production and had the entire audience engaged from the moment we walked into the venue.
Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble has created a hilarious and fantastic night out in the heart of Brisbane! Get on down to catch this awesome production or book for another show as part of the Brisbane Fringe Festival.
‘Shakespeare Pick and (re)Mix!’ performs until Friday, 21 October 2022 at Elements Collective. For more information visit the Fringe Brisbane website.