Reviews

French Quarrels Enough

CHICAGO—Anniversaries are wonderful excuses for obscure or ambitious productions, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater combines both four hundred years after Shakespeare’s death in Tug of War: Foreign Fire, the first half of a marathon revival that includes Edward III, Henry V, Henry VI Parts 1, 2, and 3, and Richard III.  The main draws here are Edward III, which was likely co-written by Thomas Kyd […]

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Reviews

Death Is Not the End

STRATFORD, ON—Casting is key in the Stratford Festival’s Pericles this season.  The play, after all, is concerned with cycles, with births and deaths and rebirths, with inverted repetitions.  Thus, E.B. Smith plays Thaliard and Leonine, the first a failed assassin of Pericles (Evan Buliung), the second of his daughter Marina (Deborah Hay).  Wayne Best, in turn, appears as the […]

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Reviews

Hey, Ho, the Wind and the Rain

Last season, the Pearl produced an excellent Richard II, and this year they are continuing the Henriad with an admirable Henry IV, Part 1.  Shakespeare’s histories have never interested me as much as his comedies and tragedies, but Henry IV blurs all three genres and, through Falstaff (Dan Daily), becomes a kind of historical tragicomedy, […]

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Reviews

A “Post-Feminist” Shrew

When we walk into the theater, there is man playing saloon music on a piano.  A woman passes out bags of peanuts, and Christopher Sly (Matthew Cowles), an old, drunken bum who has been tricked into thinking he is an aristocrat, loudly comments on the action of the play, so much so that the actors […]

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Reviews

Gently To Hear, Kindly to Judge, Your Play

The stage is plain and simple—a chair with some ladders and rafters—and the actors are clearly visible from the seats.  Completely dismissing the fourth wall, they walk through the audience in costume to greet friends, they joke loudly to each other backstage, and when director Jenny Bennett shows up, one theatrically bellows, “There is my directress!” […]

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