Festival Review: ‘The Complete World of Sports’

January 26, 2013

[Written by Rajai Denbrook and Rennika Trott]

Generally these reviewers feel that the acronym about to be used should never, ever, ever be put to use, under any circumstances, ever, except when struck by the utterly intelligent, seemingly chaotic, effervescent theatrical hilarity that took place at the Earl Cameron Theatre, City Hall last night…*clears throat*…OMG.

You can thank The Reduced Shakespeare Company and their breakneck paced production of The Complete World of Sports (abridged) for that!

Building on the terrific opening performances of Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz band for this year’s Bermuda Festival, company members Matt Rippy, a “tennis hooligan” with manifold “daddy issues”, Reed Martin, a “clown college graduate”, and Austin Tichenor, the “poor man’s Will Ferrell”, wildly meandered the audience through the complete history of sports from the beginning of time to now.

The Complete World of Sports (abridged) – Official Trailer:

The company fell just short of their aim to cover 3,477.4 sports in their “Complete World of Sports Abridgeathon”, but did manage to cover games over 7 continents and 9 categories, whilst somehow managing to work in insightful stabs on a number of themes, ranging from economics to gender to pop culture, and most importantly, definitely finding time to thoroughly amuse the audience, and themselves throughout.

With disclaimers from the company like the show was not recommended for people with heart ailments, degrees in physical education, or expectant mothers, how couldn’t they?

Starting the show with a wonderful sense of chemistry and indeed friendship that endured the many tests of the performance, the company educated the audience on the ancient caveman origins of the Marathon, founded when cavemen had to develop the endurance to outrun bears, hurdling, invented when they had to find ways of outrunning sabertooth tigers, and baseball, discovered when our ancestors found out how to bludgeon predators and/or rival tribesmen.

The company also held a fantasy baseball game, featuring the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Kapow the Klingon, and Spock, on the team “Resistance is Futile”, obviously dominating their opponents through a few helpful mind tricks from Mr. Kenobi, inevitably helping Mr. Martin to realize that nerds, in fact, rule.

The rules of football were also, um, modified, to suit the tastes of American viewers of the World Cup! With one goal equalling 20 points, lots more commercial breaks, the inclusion of handguns, and only American teams, the new and improved World Cup was guaranteed to be a sure-fire hit, especially when followed up by the fastest rendition of “Take Me Out To the Ball Game” ever.

The American company continued on their (abridged) journey through the entire history of the sporting world when they arrived at Monday Night Football, likening it to warfare, with all of it’s “warfare speech” according to Mr. Martin, and revealing it as nothing more than a game reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes, whilst managing time to also expose it as a metaphor for rampant capitalism with the help of Karl Marx and Michael Moore, who, oddly enough, just wanted to enjoy the game.

Forgotten lines couldn’t even phase this group. Whilst receiving an “inspirational football talk” from coach Tichenor, who was using the “cliche football coach handbook”, the group voted on the fact that their team was in fact not a democracy. After lightly berating the audience since he thought they had missed the joke, Mr. Tichenor had certainly lost his place, but enter the kind of ad-libbing and good-natured audience banter only seasoned pros and talented comedic actors can muster up. Their battle cry for that game once the bit was back underway, “life is futile then you die”, sadly wasn’t as inspiring.

Some more fun facts the audience was fortunate enough to learn? NASCAR actually stands for Non Athletes Sport Created ‘Round Rednecks, the LA Lakers were actually once the Minneapolis Lakers, but should probably be called The LA Boob Jobs, the three strong company can carry a serious tune with harmonies and in acapella as a “quartet”, baseball is 90% mental and 50% physical, Toe Wrestling is a sport (really), Wife Carrying is a sport (really), Docksiders is the beer-pong capital of Bermuda, and Yogi Bear has said some seriously funny things.

Rounding out this motley piece of mind-boggling comedic timing was the all important tricontadiathalon (32 events) that was the Olympish games! We won’t spoil it, but just a word of caution, try not to be disappointed by their Olympish torch, or parade of nations, or men’s synchronized swimming, or sports bras, but do find them funny.

In all, if you plan on taking the time out to enjoy this careening journey of thorough theatrical ingenuity, skill, and fun, then you will not be disappointed. Congratulations to the cast on a fantastic opening night, and thank-you to the Bermuda Festival for making sure that were a part of this year’s line-up.

- Rajai Denbrook and Rennika Trott

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Category: All, Entertainment, Sports