I note that BBC7 is re-broadcasting chunks of the repertoire of the “Reduced Shakespeare Company”. This troupe has been zanily crunching Shakespeare into hilarious bite-sized chunks for years now, showing in one slick performance after another the full extent of their manifold talents and The Bard’s joyful, timeless humour. Except, of course, that’s bollocks. Shakespeare is terminally unfunny. Frankly, he’s an astonishingly dull hack at the best of times; when he tries to be funny, you want to shove his stewed prunes and hey nonnie nos where the sun don’t shine. The man really was a tit. A racist, sexist, antisemitic, dull tit.
So when a bunch of Yanks try to perform one of his sonnets as rap (ooh, Shakey is kewl!) or pretend that Hamlet was a management consultant or some other sub-“Now Show” arse, it takes something bad and unfunny and metastasises it into something so cringe-worthy that you have to be in a strange position of cowed reverence and pseudy insecurity to pretend it has any worth. I shall discuss the polluting effects of Shakespeare worship soon. For now, it’s enough to get you to promise never to give these desperate stage-monkeys your cash. Just because they’re “clever” is no excuse to frequent them. The world is full of clever dullards. Go and see some modern comic theatre instead. Or better still, forget the dull and dusty medium and see a film. How now, sirrah? Oh, do shut up.