The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings

Search Curtainup








NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
A CurtainUp Review
Kill Shakespeare

"Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff, Romeo, and Puck search for a reclusive wizard who may have the ability to assist them in their battle against the evil forces led by the villains Richard III, Lady Macbeth, and Iago. That reclusive wizard? William Shakespeare."
—Story description on
The classics meet fantasy, Foley sound effects meet comic illustrations, and Hamlet meets Juliet in Kill Shakespeare, a "live graphic novel" co-produced by Philadelphia companies Revolution Shakespeare, dedicated to presenting Shakespeare in new and innovative ways, and Hear Again Radio Project, which reinvents classic radio performances for contemporary audiences.

The production, which ran during the weekend of September 12 as part of the 2014 FringeArts program, has three key components: the graphic novel illustrations (by Andy Belanger), projected to the left of the performers; the performers who read the dialogue, arranged in a row of chairs, rising to the microphones whenever necessary; and a second group of performers dedicated to sound, whether musical accompaniment (Linda Henderson) or Foley effects (Krishna Dunston and Francesca Piccioni). It's a bit hectic, all in all, and sometimes hard to figure out where exactly to focus, but on the flip side, each element is interesting and has its own rewards for your attention.

Make no mistake: Kill Shakespeare, directed by Darin J. Dunston and Jared Michael Delaney, isn't anywhere near a traditional adaptation of Shakespeare. In fact, the story, written by Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col, uses the names of Shakespeare's characters but creates its own narrative, rather than simply retelling an existing one through comic and radio formats. It depicts the tumultuous kingdom of Richard III (Neill Hartley), divided between those who believe in the powers of the mysterious Shakespeare (Frederick Andersen) to unite the people, led by Juliet (Sarah Fraunfelder) and Hamlet (Griffin Stanton-Ameisen), and those who are determined to destroy him, led by the King and Lady Macbeth (Megan Slater).

The world McCreery and Del Col have created is surprisingly complex, and the show sometimes teeters on the brink of feeling too absurd even for a fantasy. But the graphic novel illustrations have a, well, novelty to them, as does the radio performance angle. The cast members don't wear special costumes, and they perform primarily with their voices; watching them, you'll sometimes see facial expressions that are completely at odds with the words they're saying. That might be viewed as distracting, but it also illuminates the unique demands of radio performance and gives you a sense of being a behind-the-scenes insider.

Getting to watch the Foley effects has a similar impact. To some, hearing a convincing fire sound effect and looking over to see that it's being produced by shredded paper and bubble wrap will be a disappointing look behind the curtain, after which the effect will never sound quite the same. But others are sure to be fascinated by the simple tools that can convincingly produce sound effects from sword fights to thunderstorms.

Kill Shakespeare will without a doubt be offensive to Bard purists, who will be upset to see many characters from Shakespeare's classic plays mashed up into a world of ungrounded fantasy. Radio theater purists (I'm sure such a breed must exist somewhere) would probably be put off by the addition of such a strongly visual component as a graphic novel to an otherwise-auditory experience. To each their own. But, for those with an open mind, the play proves an interesting experiment in mashing up genres, media, stories, and characters. It's not without its rough spots, but there's always enough to keep you watching—and listening.

Kill Shakespeare
Written by Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col
Art by Andy Belanger
Directed by Darin J. Dunston and Jared Michael Delaney

with Frederick Andersen (Shakespeare/Hamlet's Father), Sean Bradley (Feste/Romeo), Jared Michael Delaney (Iago), Darin J. Dunston (Fallstaff), Krishna Dunston (Nerissa), Sarah Fraunfelder (Juliet), Neill Hartley (Richard III/Don John), Brandon Pierce (Chorus/Othello), Megan Slater (Lady Macbeth/Puck), and Griffin Stanton-Ameisen (Hamlet)
Stage Manager and Image Operator: Molly Barron
Music Director: Linda Hdnerson
Foley Sound Effects: Krishna Dunston and Francesca Piccioni
Running Time: 80 minutes with no intermission
Produced by Revolution Shakespeare and Hear Again Radio Project as part of FringeArts 2014
The Off-Broad Street Theater, 1636 Sansom Street
Tickets: $15;
Opened 9/12/2014; closed 9/13/2014; performances were 9/12 at 7 and 10 pm and 9/13 at 2, 7, and 10 pm
Reviewed by Jacob Horn based on 9/13/2014, 2 pm performance
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Kill Shakespeare
  • I disagree with the review of Kill Shakespeare
  • The review made me eager to see Kill Shakespeare
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email. . .also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

For a feed to reviews and features as they are posted add to your reader
Curtainup at Facebook . . . Curtainup at Twitter
Subscribe to our FREE email updates: E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message. If you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.
The New Similes Dictionary
New Similes Dictionary

Slings & Arrows  cover of  new Blu-Ray cover
Slings & Arrows- view 1st episode free

Book Of Mormon MP4 Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show

©Copyright 2014, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from