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Swedish stage braces for naked Englishmen

Joel Linde · 5 Oct 2011, 11:01

Published: 05 Oct 2011 11:01 GMT+02:00

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One of the plays, “Hamlet - a stand up”, is set to play exclusively at the Boulevardteatern in Stockholm. It is a solo performance by the head of the theatre, Roger Westberg, who’s been doing the award winning show for almost 20 years.

“No need for more attendees because in Hamlet: A Stand Up, Westberg takes on the whole cast of characters of Shakespeare's classic tale and easily peoples the stage better than 20 people could,” critic Lyssa Mandel writes in a review for New York theatre website nytheatre.com.

Westberg displays an impressive ability to switch between the dozens of different characters from one second to another, and has left audiences astounded around the globe with his near schizophrenic acting.

Along with composer and musician Jörgen Aggeklint, Westberg has won awards in Sweden and Cairo, among other places, for his single handed impersonation of the classic.

“It’s not our production, but it’s done very skillfully and it’s very funny,” said Paul Kessel, head of the Reginateatern in Uppsala, regarding the Hamlet parody.

Kessel is himself responsible for bringing an English language performance to Sweden.

The English "physical" theatre group Spymonkey is set to bring its latest offering, their much lauded variety show “Swedish LOVE iN”, set to go up at both the Reginateatern in Uppsala and Stockholm's Boulevardteatern.

Throughout their 14 years of performing, the troupe's four actors have made a name for themselves with black comedy as well as a vivid play on sex.

“There’s some nudity, but it’s made for comedy, not filth,” Kessel laughed.

“And it’s mainly the men, and they’re not that great looking.”

He goes on to describe the group as “unbelievably skilled, unbelievably funny, and totally crazy.”

“They don’t hold back,” he concluded.

Boulevardteatern producer Anna Holmkvist is also thrilled with the upcoming visit from Spymonkey's group of comedic actors.

“These are hysterically fun people who’ve had great success in London with sold-out shows,” she told The Local.

But the success of the UK-based group stretches far outside the country's borders.

A year after members Toby Park, Petra Massey and Aitor Basauri founded the group in 1997, they premiered their debut comedy “Stiff”. It was an immediate hit show, although one of the members, Paul Weilenmann, was replaced by Stephan Kreiss in 2000.

The group has now toured several continents and 17 different countries, piling up awards along the way. Best Comedy at the Brighton Festival, and a Total Theatre award to name a few.

In 2003 the group was asked to create and perform a comedy for world renowned Canadian theatre group Cirque du Soleil, which turned into a cooperation that lasted for two years.

“Hamlet, a stand up” plays at Boulevardteatern on October 13th, 20th and 27th, and November 15th and 22th, at 1pm and 7pm. Tickets are 220 kronor ($30) for adults, 170 kronor for seniors and students, and 110 kronor for youth up to 19 years old.

Spymonkey’s “Swedish LOVE iN” plays at Boulevardteatern on October 7th and 8th at 7pm and tickets are 250 kronor for adults, and 110 kronor for people aged 19 and under.

Story continues below…

Spymonkey performs at Reginateatern on October 11th through 14th at 7pm, and on the 15th at 6pm, and tickets are 260 kronor for adults, and 120 kronor for students and people under 26.


For a chance to win tickets to the shows at Boulevardteatern, please answer the following question:

Where is the original play "Hamlet" set?

Please submit your answers to The Local by email and specify which show you would prefer to go to. Leave your name and contact information. Winners will be contacted by theatre staff.

The competition is now closed. Thanks to everyone who submitted a response.

Related links:

Joel Linde (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:09 October 5, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Right now I'm puking on my keyboard.
17:38 October 5, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
Who would want "to take a PEAK" at naked Englishmen?
19:17 October 5, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ Gamla Hälsingebock #2

Perhaps some sweet young lady who would rather see a virile young English man than an old Swedish Gubbe.
20:31 October 5, 2011 by Just_Kidding

sweet young ladies get enough rock and roll in the real life... but maybe some old ladies will enjoy the show :)
21:37 October 5, 2011 by Svensksmith
Looks like a penis, only smaller.
11:04 October 6, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ just kidding

young or old, we modern ladies like to get a "peek" of what is out there same as guys do. ;-) Guess Gamla is just an old goat who is living in the past when ladies were not "allowed" to be interested in sex.

Men have always "peeked" at the unclothed ladies. Now the shoe is on the other foot. I am all for a good healthy dose of an eyefull of male testosterone, and if it is English, all the better. Lets see, Daniel Craig, George Clooney, Clive Owen, Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Jude Law, Brad Pitt....ENGLISH. Remember we are not just talking about the British, but English and all these guys fit that description. Lets see if you "measure up" buck naked to these guys "Gamla Hälsingebock " I am pretty sure the vote would ne cast for "George Clooney" rather than "Gamla Gubbe". But, in all fairness to Sweden, Dolf Lundgren, or either (young or old) Stellen or Alexander Skarsgård would be ok too.
12:01 October 6, 2011 by Roy E
How bankrupt and empty people's lives must be to turn to these sorts of insipid gimmicks for entertainment and escapism. .
12:17 October 6, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ Roy E

I feel exactly the same way about men sitting and looking at porn. At least with this, you get the theatrical play with the nudity.
21:35 October 6, 2011 by Streja
Why can't they try to do something that my students can watch? I mean last year there was something on in English but too late, when school was off for Christmas. I mean, think of the possibilites of actually getting loads of bums on seats.
10:26 October 7, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ Streja

Do your students go to bed at home at 8 oclock at night? If not, they are seeing way more than this on Swedish tv. I have seen what I would call soft porn at 9:30 at night on Tv1 and Tv 2. There is not just some nudity but sex and you see nearly everything too. On MTV some of those "kids" shows are just downright offensive. Just last night they had closeup shots of male testicles being shaved and a penis being pierced. Not pretty on either count. I often think "There are children still up at this time." And lets not even start in on what they are seeing on unmonitored internet!

But I think there must be other plays available that are more "child friendly."

The museum in Stockholm FINALLY has an exhibition that is not "A Look At Sexuality In Art" and "Maplethorpe S&M". They have an extensive Monet exhibition on. That would be a great place to take students.
19:29 October 7, 2011 by tadchem
I've seen naked Englishmen. The fig leaves are misleading. Willow leaves would be more appropriate.
15:07 October 8, 2011 by jacquelinee
I've seen a couple myself..One needed a willow leaf, one needed a banana tree leaf. We can not make blanket asumptions. If differes from English tree twig to English tree trunk ;-)
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