Austin Powers meets Shakespeare in These Paper Bullets!, a re-working of Shakespeare’s ‘“Much Ado about Nothing” set in 1960’s London. Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of Shakespearean comedies. I find them too slapstick and farcical for my liking and These Paper Bullets! stays true to form.
Four mop-top young lads from Liverpool (think Beatles) hit the music scene with rarefied success after firing their original drummer, who in this play becomes the villain out for revenge. Their world is psychedelic – fueled with sex, drugs and rock and roll. A model named Higgie (remember Twiggy and you’ll begin to understand how silly this play is), in a drug addled haze, falls for one of the band members who is smitten with her. The costumes consist of 1960’s plastic clothing and go go boots and the music, written by Billie Joe Armstrong, is reminiscent of the aforementioned group.
There were moments that were funny and clever: I loved how the director (Jackson Gay) breaks through the fourth wall (tip: don’t sit on an aisle seat if you’re camera shy). But in trying to remain faithful to its Shakespearean roots the play runs long – way too long. I found myself fidgeting. If you’re in the mood for Austin Powers’ type humor or a play that is reminiscent of Shakespeare, perhaps These Paper Bullets! won’t make you want to shoot yourself. LAR
Atlantic Theater Company, Linda Gross Theater, 336 W 20th Street
Ticket prices: $20-$96.50
Discount: available for subscribers
Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes with one 10 minute intermission
Runs thru: January 10, 2016