Sound & Fury's Hamlet & Juliet
Review: Matthew Tomich
It's not often you hear The Oompa Loompa theme from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory in Shakespearean tragedy.
In fact, Hamlet & Juliet, from US-based comedy trio Sound & Fury, is brimming with contemporary cultural references, from sci-fi classic Total Recall to cult TV show Game of Thrones to Sean Connery's famous Scottish drawl.
The 45-minute piece weaves the plots of two of Shakespeare's most well-known works with varying results, but the ensuing confusion makes the absurd play all the more enjoyable. For those who lose track of the story, rest assured: the actors have no hesitations about breaking the fourth wall, whether it's to explain the finer details of the narrative, insult each other or revel in the madness of their show.
In this story, Romeo is done away with in favour of Hamlet, who does double duty as both Juliet's star-crossed lover and the Prince of Denmark on a quest to prove his uncle murdered his father in order to marry his mother. It's a doomed mission if there ever was one, and this being Shakespeare, everyone has to die.
Though a passing familiarity with Shakespeare's work will help in understanding the convoluted plot, it's not strictly necessary: much of the humour in Hamlet & Juliet is derived from Sound & Fury's effortless marriage of high-brow and low-brow humour. The trio jump from crude sexual innuendo and so-bad-they're-good puns to intelligent and irreverent deconstructions of Shakespeare's work without skipping a beat.
A piece of parting advice: don't show up late. They make fun of you when you're late, and they're really good at it.
Sound & Fury's Hamlet & Juliet runs at The Stables until January 31, and at Pink Flamingo from February 1-9.