As all eyes turned towards King William St and the Fringe Parade on Friday night, I escaped the hubbub in favour of opening night at Gluttony. I saw American theatrical comedy trio Sound & Fury’s “Hamlet & Juliet”.
Under the careful manipulation of these veteran comedians, two of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies were transformed into one irresistible, lowbrow comedy.
Sound & Fury have been performing at the Adelaide Fringe for ten years now, under the artful direction of founding member Richard Maritzer. During that time they have amassed a dedicated cult following.
As I walked in, they warned the audience: “People often come to our shows expecting serious theatre. We are neither of those things.” Rather, they are vaudeville-style actors whose frequent and inspired use of improvisation makes every performance unique. They build relationships with the audience through constant, affectionate teasing, and regularly break the fourth wall for comedic effect. Their past shows include such gems as Hitchcocked, Doc Faustus: A Soulless Western, and Spaceship Man. No subject or genre is safe from Sound & Fury’s parody.
Joining Maritzer and long-standing member Patrick Hercamp for their Australian tour is Perth local, Shane Adamczak. He fits right in, despite the clash of accents.
Hamlet & Juliet is everything this Shakespeare fanatic could hope for. It recounts the tragi-comic love affair between two of the Bard’s most iconic characters. It boasts two original and surprisingly catchy songs: a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern duet, and a musical rendition of Hamlet’s famed “To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy.
Hamlet’s uncle-come-stepfather is affectionately referred to as “Funkle Claudius” throughout the show. Also featured is the famed balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, told through flashbacks with constant interjections from a lustful Friar Laurance. Perhaps my favourite improvised joke of the night was Maritzer’s surprisingly convincing Sean Connery impression as he portrayed the Ghost.
With only fifty minutes, Sound & Fury take you on a turbulent journey through the best parody Shakespeare never wrote.
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford
Rating out of 5: 4
Venue: Gluttony – The Bally, East Terrace, Adelaide
Season: 13 February – 1 March 2015
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $23.00 – $25.00
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or at a FringeTix box office (booking fees apply)