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  • Writer's pictureBen Kemper

Prince: A Two Person Clowning Adaptation of Machiavelli

Or: “Above all, be armed”

Clowning is a very particular style of theater that can be done very well or very badly; like a caramel apple. By drying a well known story to its most essential core, drizzling it in physical comedy and handing it to the audience on a stick, a performer can either provide a tough and laborsome evening, or can make it a surgery delight. Nikki (Abby Pajakowski) and Mac (Will Sonheim) are deft hands at furnishing the latter type of apple and their irreverent handling of Monarchy through the ages contains just the right proportion of sweet silliness and tart discomfiture. Bereft of a king to serve, these slap-stick servitors struggle for control of the realm in ways that both tickle and terrify.

Pajakowski and Sonheim are well versed in the art of giving every inch of their selves to a joke: he brings his great hight and gangling to bare in the most novel of fashions (he veritably shines during the rap battle sequences) while she positively pops with energy (in all forms from adjectively debasing herself to plotting rebellion). Both share a spot on sense of timing, a mastery of exaggeration (so big that its surprising, so controlled so that its believable), and a full commitment to the stakes of their little world. There is not much here for those wishing to learn about Machiavelli and his philosophy but there is plenty a rich delight for all wanting to laugh, to gasp, and to cower.

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