The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Rated 3.0

There are a lot of “black box” theaters, dark-walled studio spaces with 100 to 200 seats on risers flanking a thrust stage.The new Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre II might be described as a “white box” theater. Otherwise known as Kobasic’s Hall, it’s a spacious ballroom that has been the scene of many wedding receptions (hence the fake flowers and chandeliers). The Thistle Dew, which retains its cozy 27-seat theaterette at 1901 P Street, basically rents out Kobasic’s Hall on Friday and Sunday evenings. The Thistle Dew II hopes to mount five or six shows a year, running eight to 10 weeks apiece.

The hall seats up to 200 in cushioned, stackable chairs on a flat floor, with tables at the back for coffee and dessert (included in the ticket price). It’s the only theater in town where folks could waltz during intermission. Stage lighting is rudimentary, and the white walls reflect the glow, which seems odd at first. All in all, it’s a pleasant venue, still on a shakedown cruise.

The Thistle Dew II’s first production is The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), a string of antic skits spoofing the entire Shakespeare canon in a blitz. Originated by the Reduced Shakespeare Company, it’s been staged by several community groups in town. Director Krystyna Loboda takes advantage of the space and sends her three highly energetic actors (Ryan Williams, Eddie Elson and Steve Quinn) running through the audience. Williams is particularly good as a beer-soaked Romeo, but some skits generate more titters than belly laughs.