If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. This is advice that continues to serve the Reduced Shakespeare Company well. The formula of great chemistry between 3 talented comedians, approximately 100 minutes of fast flying content that is both silly and highbrow, and a healthy dose of audience participation, is a winning combination that made last night’s performance of The Complete World of Sports, (Abridged) a real contender.
Unlike with The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), I didn’t consider myself very familiar with the source material. I am by no means a sports buff but, I was surprised at just how much I did know and how much it ultimately didn’t matter. The show is definitely crafted in a way that is enhanced the more you know about sports, but by no mean requires that you be an expert. Layered like the Bard himself, there are plenty of Bay Area and non-sports jokes to keep you entertained.
The show started off a bit slow and the first 20 minutes seemed to serve almost as warm up for both the audience and the actors, but once we found a good pace, we were able to synch up and the laughs flowed freely. The script was fun and light, but as is often the case with RSC shows, the best parts of the night were the adlibs and the jokes that went awry. The second act in particular (which was a bit more bawdyand a tad less predictable) was a real triumph. The audience proved good sports (pun intended) as well and the participation parts of the play were a slam dunk.
Overall this show is just a fun evening and I can give it a solid 4 out of 5 jewels on the royal tiara. Make it a theme night and grab a bite at any of the sports bars within walking distance of the San Jose Repertory Theatre and catch The Complete World of Sports (Abridged) before it closes its very short run this Sunday.