By Terry Byrne.
Newly crowned King Claudius speaking with an Austrian accent remarkably like Arnold Schwarzenegger? MI6’s Q creating the latest in 12th technology to help Double-O Denmark catch the conscience of the king? Prince Hamlet delivering his soliloquies in the clipped tones of James Bond?
Welcome to From Denmark with Love, playwright John J. King’s hilarious mash-up of Shakespeare’s Danish tragedy and Ian Fleming’s Secret Agent 007. In a run at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre that was all too short, King’s Vaquero Playground productions produced a low-tech comedy that spoofed every Bond cliché imaginable while staying true to the essential framework of Shakespeare’s tragedy.
Directed by Barlow Adamson with a keen eye for detail and an understanding that speed is of the essence in zany comedy, From Denmark with Love clashes storylines like cymbals, with every member of this cast working every moment, every double entendre, every corny and horny joke King mines from writers Ian Fleming and William Shakespeare.
Daniel Berger-Jones delivers a tour de force performance as both Claudius and Hamlet, better known as Agent 00-Syv. Exiting one scene and arriving in the next with a different accent and attitude, Berger-Jones never misses a beat. He gets generous support from every member of this ensemble, all of whom are at the top of their game in this deliriously funny parody.
As if the clever script and top-notch performances weren’t enough, King also used the iconic Bond movie themes as inspiration for compositions by local bands. But because it’s all about the mash-up, the theme songs include “Lear and Let Die,” “Thunderball and Juliet,” and “Dr. Tempest,” to name a few. King compiled the results on a CD that’s available for $7, natch.
The CD is available at the Vaquero Playground website and will keep audiences engaged while we wait and hope for an encore production of From Denmark With Love.