I admit I am in the minority in having to confess I have never seen even a single episode of the TV series Breaking Bad. And it was on for five seasons and totaled 62 episodes. But I had had my fill of drug kingpins with Scarface and Nancy Botwin of TV’s Weeds. Never having consumed recreational drugs myself, I find it hard to connect with characters who do and subsequently characters who supply the drugs. But I heard a lot about the show from friends and the Emmy Awards and from reading about it on the internet. I am very familiar with the works of playwright William Shakespeare, having seen 26 of his 37 plays, many of them more than once. So I was ready for The Porters of Hellsgate mashup Breaking Bard as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. I laughed along with the capacity audience as “the most lamentable tragedie of Walter of Albuquerque” unfolded.
Gus Krieger adapted all five seasons of the TV series into Shakespeare speak and the result is a fast paced hour of satirical humor under the deft direction of Drina Durazo. Krieger pulls double duty by taking on the lead role of Walter White. The ten person cast smoothly permits the prose to trippingly fall from their tongues, which are planted firmly in cheeks as they delineate the various characters. All of the series favorites make an appearance—Hank (Thomas Bigley), Gus (Matt Calloway), Marie (Dana DeRuyck), Jack (Sean Faye), Hector (Evan Isaac Lipkin), Tuco (Jonathan Medina), Saul (Timothy Portnoy) and of course Skyler (Kate O’Toole) and Jesse (James James Thomas). There are a few gross out bits of business that evidently are true to the TV show but blend in well in Shakespeare’s tragedies.