Monday, March 30, 2015


The three British zanies (Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor), who brought THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (Abridged) to the colonies, have lucked into a nifty cottage industry, abridging stuff. They’ve even had the audacity to abridge our whole, long two hundred year history!

THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF AMERICA (Abridged) is tearing up the joint at ARTS AFTER HOURS through April 4th. It’s an irreverent send up of our love affair with “manifest destiny,” invading the Middle East and conspiracy theories…and I should point out, it’s being directed by James Tallach, who is a Scot! Talk about conspiracies.

What’s more, I think there’s a definite link to another show… and I don’t mind telling you it’s Hub Theatre’s LOOT (also written by a Brit). In point of fact, one of the AFTER HOURS performers is married to someone in the Hub production. The same mustache appears in both plays and both employ chocolate money to bribe the audience. Coincidence? I think not.

Tallach’s wild and wooly production has three game actors to lead us in stitches (well, mostly in groans) through the Revolutionary “shot heard round the world” War (which they link cleverly to the lone gunman theory), through the Civil War, the French and Indian War, the War of 1812, two World Wars, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War (which wasn’t a declared war) to the Gulf fiascos…and beyond. I can hardly keep up with our military actions. (If it’s Tuesday, we must be invading another -Stan.) It’s beyond me how the play’s authors can keep up.

Cameron Gosselin, Dan Prior and Casey Tucker maneuver with aplomb in and out of costumes, accents, genders even, in service of the deliriously lame humor. And they sing terrific triple harmony à la The Andrews Sisters in The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy! It’s a romp. Well, some of it is a crawl but mostly it’s just plain silly…Oh, and you’ll learn something about history, to boot!