Theatre so silly you have to roll with it

12 Jul
Lisa Justine Hood as, um, the balcony, Ben Van Osch as Juliet and Shawn Van Osch as Romeo. Photo courtesy of Devin Sturgeon.

Lisa Justine Hood as, um, the balcony, Ben Van Osch as Juliet and Shawn Van Osch as Romeo. Photo courtesy of Devin Sturgeon.


By Diva Heather Boa

GODERICH – If you’re looking for high-brow culture in summer theatre, then The Livery Theatre is probably not where you want to be.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for some well-over-the-top rollicking fun, then this is precisely the place to be, in order to catch a showing of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), directed by David Armour.

Relying on a script that gives the impression of being written by a pre-pubescent male for all its cheap sexual innuendos, cross-dressing and fixation on bodily functions (specifically, puking), the trio of actors – Lisa Justine Hood, Shawn Van Osch and Ben Van Osch – take to the stage with all the gusto of neighbourhood kids playing make-belief long into a summer’s evening.

I’ll tell you straight out that this play is uproariously funny if, and only if, you give in to its persistent silliness.

It might seem a little weird that Ben Van Osch really relishes his roles as Ophelia and Juliet, with massive wigs and long dresses, but then again, there was a time when women’s parts were exclusively played by men. And this is the season of community reunions where more than a few men will inevitably dress in skimpy women’s lingerie and plaster on makeup for shirt-tail parades. So best to just roll with it.

When you accept that its entirely appropriate for Ken and Barbie dolls, an inflatable dinosaur, a few lines from The Time Warp, and the Van Osch brothers’ mother to be woven into the production, then you’ll have a grand time.

In this play, the 37 or so tragedies, comedies and histories spun out during Shakespeare’s prolific career are turned into a series of quickies strung together over two hours. They are irreverent, raunchy and sometimes swollen with bad puns. Oh yeah, and definitely not appropriate for a young audience.

Last night, it was a very friendly audience. Perhaps a quarter of the people were related to the Van Osch brothers, and a number of producers and directors from other plays staged at The Livery were there.

You can still catch a performance of this play on July 16, 17 or 18, starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are available online or by calling 519-524-6262 on Thursday or Friday, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 (adults), $22.50 (seniors) or $15 (youth). Livery Members: $20 (adults), $18 (seniors) or $15 (youth). Seating is by general admission.

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