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Pulp Shakespeare

theatre · her majesty's secret players · Ages 16+ · United States

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Review by TONY FRANKEL

June 14, 2011 stage and cinema/bitter lemons

My overall impression

Tony Frankel, theatre critic for Stage and Cinema here.

Two Huzzahs Up for Pulp Shakespeare, an inspired adaptation of Tarantino’s classic film PULP FICTION. Even though your experience will be heightened if you have seen the film, it is not a prerequisite. How in the world did FIVE adapters work together to come up with this magnificently funny and entertaining script? This show is not a parody of Tarantino or the Bard, but rather an homage to scribes who celebrate the richness, variance and complexity of language. The creators wisely removed or combined scenes from the movie and are encouraged to go even further in that direction (hopefully with the endorsement of Tarantino himself).

Not only has director Jordan Monsell (who adapted with Ben Tallen, Aaron Greer, Chris Adams and Brian Watson-Jones) managed to keep up the pace, but some of his actors enter the realm of amazing. Dan White plays Julius (AKA, Jules, the Sam Jackson role) with thunderous clarity – I am honored to have been in the presence of such a magnificent portrayal: fiery, classical and grounded, Mr. White exemplifies the vocal technique missing in so many modern actors – namely enunciation and diction. Truly, a bravura performance.

Aaron Lyons is Vincent de la Vega (the Travolta role), who is much less presentational than Julius. There was no mimicking of Travolta, however (save the greasy haircut), and Mr. Lyons created a fully-fleshed character of his own. Hannah Beck as Lady Mia Wallace is lovely. The scenes in the diner (remember Amanda Plummer and Tim Roth?) are made all the more thrilling, exciting and hysterical with Liza de Weerd as Meadsweet (Yolanda) and Brian Weiss (Pumpkin Pie). Also notable is Drew Doyle as Sir “Butch” Coolidge.

Of course, PULP SHAKESPEARE is a little rough around the edges, namely in the splicing of scenes and some lesser acting, but I consider this show (along with Lost Moon Radio) as simply the best that can come out of the Hollywood Fringe. Would that I did not have so many other shows to cover, as I would see this again in a Shakespearean second.

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