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Bennie Othella & The Jets:-.. - One4Review

Bennie Othella & The Jets: The Musical True-crime story of an American idol… 
‘Benny Othella & The Jets’ created and directed by Eric Schrode with his usual flair, introducing various forms of popular music in to a Shakespearean play. Bennie J Othella (Taylor Lasley), leading popular singer and diplomat of the times is unaware of tension amongst her backing group as she chooses her new solo-singer. The success of MeShell MaBelle (Ellie Bensinger) is not popular with either Candy Jagger (Taylor Heisley-Cook) or Ronnie Riga (Amanda Giuliano), as one expected to get the solo job and the other is in love with Othella’s man. This is only part of the problem as Othella’s marriage to The Demon Des (Julian Hicks) mixed race relationships are easily subjected to doubts, especially when Mrs Desmond (Maddy Sprung-Keyser) is totally aghast at the relationship. These young performers are all exceptionally talented and the fact that they are totally at ease performing a mixture of traditional Shakespeare, modern dance and pop music shows what can be done with ability and determination.  As with all his adaptations Eric keeps the essence of the storyline but adds his own twists by transposing the sexes and altering settings, he also utilises the individual talents of all his performers.  His occasionally strange choice of contemporary music always seems to fit in well in the context of the play.  Especially as most of them would not have been born when the songs were popular or perhaps not even heard of the source particularly his use of Leonard Cohen. Had Shakespeare been taught like this in UK schools I think we would have more converts who enjoy this type of production. I look forward to the return of The HWS Rembiko Project, probably in two years time for Fringe 2009. ****

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