Last night on the Ritz stage, Joshua Brown and Kelly Elliott sat facing away from the audience, video-game controllers in hand, and “played” a few rounds of “Macbeth”-inspired “Mortal Kombat” for their show “Kill Will.”
The Cleveland-based duo, one of the 169 shows at this year¹s Minnesota Fringe Festival, certainly have an entertaining concept — boil Shakespeare down to his bloody essence, showcasing some of the many fights, murders, suicides and general violence of the bard’s work.
Both have taught and choreographed stage combat and their fights — from the likes of “Macbeth,” various history plays of the above mentioned “Macbeth” (they move away from the pre-filmed segments at the end) and an epic take on the ultimate in Shakespeare gore, “Titus Andronicus.” They even get the audience involved, such as an inspired bit where volunteers are asked to play out various suicides from “Julius Caesar” and “Anthony and Cleopatra.”
Other times, “Kill Will” gets lazy. A note to all satirists — “The Matrix” came out 11 years ago, so there¹s nothing the least bit fresh about dressing in long, black coats and sunglasses and having slow-motion martial-arts-based fights.
So, fun concept, uneven execution, but an overall entertaining time? Yep, definitely Fringe Festival time again.
“Kill Will” will be performed at 10 p.m. Saturday, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 14 and 5:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Ritz Theater Proscenium, 345 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis. For information on the show and the rest of the Fringe, go here.