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PICKLERICKICLES is a multidimensional, Shakespearian science fiction adventure playing at Otherworld Theatre that - some might agree - is as fun to watch as it is to say.
Upon entering the Alchemist Lab - Otherworld Theatre’s intimate black box - you are greeted by a massive Cromulon looming overhead, commanding you to take your seat. If you don’t know what a Cromulon is, your experience with this ambitious romp might be quite confusing.
Otherworld Theatre’s take on Pericles is “Brined beyond all recognition”
Because this writer experienced last year’s Super Richard World III it now seems that to put on a high wire juggling act of a show may be a perennial component of Stupid Shakespeare’s designing principle. William Shakespeare’s rigidly structured meter and verse are here combined with the idiosyncratic, improvisational, stammering rhythm of Rick and Morty to craft something altogether unique. In the press release, Playwright and adaptor of this work, Katie Ruppert, described Pericles as “Shakespeare's most convoluted play” - a sentiment with which you might have trouble disagreeing. So, Stupid Shakespeare has simplified things by adding laser guns, multi-dimensional space travel and alternate reality versions of several characters to the soup. It is very easy to lose your place during PICKLERICKICLES, but then Rope Flingin‘ Morty - for one example - might stumble into the scene, causing you to consider that perhaps convolution is at least half the gag.
Black Box Sci-Fi Simplicity
Aside from the face of the aforementioned Cromulon, bearing an expression that could be described as one of focused judgment, there is very little on the stage. The floor is specked with paint and glitter - perhaps to represent the vast cosmos - there are a pair of columns, and a small table is occasionally deployed to support fourth-wall-breaking narration. Otherwise, projections, props, light cues and sound effects set the scene alongside the deceptively complex approach to low-budget costume design one might come to expect from this theatre.
A Cast Game to make a Live Action Cartoon
This was an extraordinary ensemble - which included bravura performances by Mary Kate Arnold and Jeffery Simpson - to the mind of this reviewer. You might regard the accuracy of some of the character impressions you’ll see and hear in this show as remarkable. Tightly coordinated physical comedy led to more than a few guffaws underscored by “oh my God” proclamations from the opening night audience.
“Ricks Preserve You”
At once a celebration and lampooning of Shakespeare, PICKLERICKICLES is one hell of an experiment. This writer cannot say for certain whether or not the experiment worked, but you might agree that when something is this damned funny, it probably doesn’t matter. PICKLERICKICLES is RECOMMENDED for fans of Rick and Morty, and for Shakespeare fans looking for a fresh take on one of the Bard’s lessor known works. Those repelled by silly farce, deep references to a cartoon they’ve never seen and/or mature language may wish to venture elsewhere.
ADAPTED BY: Katie Ruppert
DIRECTED BY: Joshua Messick
Alex Albrecht, Mary- Kate Arnold, Kyle T. Burch, Vincent Charles, Carly Davis, Devlin Ford, Matthew Keeley, Elijah Newman, Bayley Pokorny, Katie Ruppert, Jeffery Simpson, and J.J. Smith.
About the Author:
Spence Warren is a Filmmaker, a Film Worker, A Musician, A Puppet Maker and - apparently - an occasional reviewer. He hopes to offer people - particularly those who love story in all its forms - valuable insight and perspective.