LA Theatre Review #5

The 4 Clowns troupe, which won the Best in Physical Theater Award at last year’s Fringe, is back this year with their irreverent adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Sticking (more or less) to the Shakespeare’s original story line, the clowns add their own comedic interpretation and subplots. The plot in one sentence: Romeo (played a la Keanu Reeves by Kevin Klein), still stinging from the loss of his one true love, Rosaline, is smitten once again by the fair Juliet (Alexis Jones), who appears to have a rather strange relationship with her nurse (played alternately by Klein and Zach Steel), who also has a thing for Romeo, who is secretly married to Juliet by the Friar (Raymond Lee), who then has to devise a plan to allow them to be together after Romeo is banished for killing Tybalt (Steel) in revenge for killing his friend Mercutio (Lee) in a street fight.

The cast is extremely talented at eking hilarity from the subtle and zany alike. They also enjoy deviating from the script whenever necessary. (Warning: do not come late and try to sneak in unnoticed.) The production also includes a healthy dose of audience participation (or, as another reviewed called it, audience abuse.)

In case you have not been sufficiently warned, despite the title, this is not a production for anyone under the age of, well, 40. If some of the bits fall flat or go over the top, there’s always another laugh right around the corner. And so if your funny bone tends anywhere towards the juvenile, you are sure to be thoroughly entertained.

– Joel Elkins