The Complete History of America (abridged)
“HISTORY OF AMERICA (Abridged) at Marin Shakespeare Company a hit!
A new comedy trio with intellect is born that would make the Marx Brothers proud and envious. Marin Shakespeare Company is back on track with a hilarious remounting of The Complete History of America (Abridged) for the second offering in their 21st season. You have to see it to believe it. Three topnotch actors cavort on simple rag-tag stage creating a myriad of characters/events that were part of the history of America with a pastiche of skits, embellished with slapstick humor, outrageous costumes and satirical innuendo under the tongue-in-cheek direction of Robert Currier who probably gave free reign to his cast….
The three actors are all excellent as they run rampant through the reams of dialog. They work together like a well oiled machine even when Darren fell into a defective stage trap door; our intrepid trio never drops a line. It seems fortuitous that is was MSC favorite Darren Bridgett who is adept at physical comedy could recover quickly to the delight of his adoring fans. He was not injured and his cohort Cassidy Brown, quipped to the audience ‘He will be removing splinters after the show.’ This emphasizes the point that the authors have left room in the scripted dialog for the actors and director to insert local and topical references and they do this frequently to the delight of many. Darren gets his trademark excursion into the audience and there is even a history quiz with audience participation.
Their energy, comic timing and versatility are amazing and each gets their turn in the limelight. Cassidy Brown can be considered the ‘straight man’ that is necessary for any vaudevillian act and he is an excellent match and foil for the others. Darren Bridgett is the leader/instigator of the action and handles the job with authority and style. It was W.C. Fields who advised aspiring actors to avoid being on the same stage with children. Darren should heed that warning and not share a stage with Mick Mize. Mize invests his role(s) with deadpan humor and body language timing whether he is in drag (as he often is) or giving us a nonsensical film noir lecture that is often interrupted (humorously) by Cassidy Brown and Darren.
Last but not least, the entire production crew deserves a bouquet of flowers for the huge number of props, costumes and wigs etc. that are terrific adding to enjoyment of the highly recommended production.”
Kedar K. Adour, MD, www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com.
Well this is a new experience. I went into the opening for The Complete History of America (Abridged) expecting something more akin to a standard comedic play (I have never seen any of the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s work). What I learned was that this is much more like a stand up routine that happens to have a script behind it. Which in this case, is not a bad thing at all. In fact, I can safely say that it was one of the most enjoyable theater experiences I have had in a long time….
This will probably be the easiest review I have ever had to write. Roughly twenty or thirty minutes into the first act, I noticed that I was hardly writing any notes down, and realized this is not the type of play that you deeply analyze and critique. You simply enjoy it. The brightly colored, yet minimalistic set served as a nice backdrop for the action, and the occasional sound queues set up some very funny bits and jokes.
The three actors (Mick Mize, Darren Bridgett and Cassidy Brown), are fine comedic actors with impeccable timing, and did a glorious job of playing off the audience, each other, and the occasional mishap (Bridgett's accidental fall through a trap door was a particularly funny, though unintentional, moment).
The only people I wouldn’t recommend this play to, are those who take themselves, and their country, too seriously or those who can’t take a joke. “
– Paul Webb, For All Events
Under the trees in San Rafael, their newest play The Complete History of America (abridged) is a slapstick recounting of events with only coincidental relationship to the facts. The energy of the three players keeps the timeline churning with many costume quick-changes ranging from Ben Franklin to Obama.
Creator and original cast member Reed Martin of Sonoma updated this production by taking out Bill Clinton and adding W. Bush and Obama. The use of anachronisms in this ten-year-old parody of our culture keeps it fresh and current. Reed says, ‘In all of our shows we include places to insert local and topical references.’
The breathless cast of local actors found every one of those places and inserted some digs at Berkeley and some unexpected mockery of each other. They are very good at keeping focused on non-scripted banter. A persistent car alarm turned into fodder for laughs. Even a major technical glitch couldn’t stop them. One actor accidentally took a prat fall but carried on like a trouper, giving rise to jokes about splinters.
Darren Bridgett, Cassidy Brown and Mick Mize create an array of familiar characters against a colorful background. They work together quickly and seamlessly as an improvisational team within the script. If an opportunity arises they slip in another joke.
From an opening scene about the name of our country to a choice of modern finales, the misguided humor is incisive.
– Albert Goodwyn, Examiner / SF Performing Arts Examiner
“’The Complete History of America' is a full two-hour romp...director Robert Currier's antic cast - Darren Bridgett, Mick Mize and Cassidy Brown is out to entertain...in this evening of slapstick history."
Lee Brady, Pacific Sun