‘Pulp Shakespeare (or Bard Fiction)’ at Theatre Asylum

pulp shakespeare theatre review

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On the Move

It’s already gotten a 100% sweet twice over on Bitter Lemons from every other critic in town whose seen it. So I didn’t think I could add much on the subject of Pulp Shakespeare successfully running in revival right now at Theatre Asylum on Theatre Row. But then I got a phone call from producer Matthew Quinn.

“I’m not sure what I could do for you at this time Matt. The reviews are already out.”

“Doesn’t matter. You didn’t see it during the last Hollywood Fringe and you need to. This is the kind of play that really shows you what Fringe is all about.”

That nailed it for me.

Truth be told, I was set to attend opening night. But the show delayed one week and with a booked out schedule until the beginning of March, I thought, “Ah me!” until a block of time suddenly appeared. I’m thrilled to not have been disappointed, and ecstatic that it turned out juicier than I thought!

More important however, and what excites me most, is the fact that it is possible for a long-in-development Fringe play to have a superlative afterlife as a mainstream small theatre production.

Nothing is a sure bet in this town especially a one-off appearing in a “test and learn” environment such as Fringe offers to its participating artists. Even the most notable locals of the craft work hard in this safe, but never-the-less still competitive genre. So rising to the top and getting eyeballs watching, ears listening, mouths talking and butts in the seat is no easy feat to manage. PR, good promotion and reviews from the critics certainly will do their job. Ultimately, though, it’s the material that has to grab and keep hold of fickle audiences.

Pulp Shakespeare suffers from none of the usual ephemerality. And whatever supposition one might initially have about this work diving anywhere near the phrase “gimmick”, just toss that thought aside.

Pulp Shakespeare (or Bard Fiction), a play written by Ben Tallen, Aaron Greer and Brian Watson-Jones, developed by the Pulp Bard wiki, based on a concept originated by Kevin Peace, and based on the movie Pulp Fiction, is not only meritorious in its own right as an original bard mashup, but so over-the-top original that it feels like a mind scrabble to even comprehend how in the hell these guys were able to transcribe a cult film into an modern day Shakespearean iambic pentameter that undeniable mimics the bard, and on some level surpasses classic brilliance. It’s simply astounding.

In a way, there were incredibly lucky. The material already lends itself to a heightened poetic experience, and has so much grit and bawdiness all around. Even luckier, this show is also endowed with an exceptional cast, not just in credits, but in palpable craft and commitment to the piece. I think they need to take it a step further and film this baby! It’s truly a winner.

And I doth say to the writers, cast & crew, “Well done. Trippingly…trippingly.”

It is a MUST SEE, HEAR, DO! You have until March 8th. Hie thee hence to the website or box office and get a ticket!

One response to “‘Pulp Shakespeare (or Bard Fiction)’ at Theatre Asylum”

  1. Hollywood Fringe Wrap Up and the BEST Goes ON… – Gia On The Move Avatar

    […] for LA Theatre Review last year (whoot whoot!) as well as independent commercial successes like Pulp Shakespeare, currently running and up for two LA Weekly […]


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