Reviews

The Brief Sun Flames the Ice

The set, designed by Riccardo Hernandez, is extraordinary.  Snow falls throughout, first in large heaps and then intermittently, its color reflected in the large white arches and pale furniture; the actors, dwarfed by their monochromatic surroundings, bring a little relief with their colorful costumes.  But the main effect—a sheet of white peppered with spots of […]

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Reviews

That Is Entertainment My Bosom Likes Not

There are, admittedly, a few good moments in Declan Donnellan’s Winter’s Tale.  The opening scene is done well, with Leontes (Orlando James) manically handling both his best friend, Polixenes (Edward Sayer), and his wife, Hermione (Natalie Radmall-Quirke), roughhousing the one and ostentatiously kissing the other, leaving us with a sense that this king is giddy and unstable. […]

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Reviews

Thou Art Changed

Well.  Last season I was worried that the Pearl Theatre had become complacent.  Years of working together can turn actors and directors lazy, and there were signs that this company’s members were no longer challenging each other.  Productions of The Winter’s Tale and Don Juan were not only stale but betrayed a lack of faith in the texts, […]

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Reviews

Basking in Open Day

STRATFORD, ON—Before the premiere of his second and final play, She Stoops to Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith wrote “A Comparison between Laughing and Sentimental Comedy.”  In this short essay, he appeals to Aristotle in arguing that a comedy is “a picture of the frailties of the lower part of mankind, to distinguish it from tragedy, which is an […]

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Reviews

Things Dying and Newborn

When Peter Francis James, who plays Leontes in the Pearl’s current revival of The Winter’s Tale, says the word “issue,” he pronounces it as if the first syllable rhymed with with piss instead of dish.  Or, perhaps more appropriately, as if it rhymed with hiss.  Thus, he virtually spits at Antigonus (Dominic Cuskern) of the child he presumes to be […]

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Reviews

A Very Merry War

Last year, Arin Arbus directed a wonderful Taming of the Shrew for TFANA and this season she returns with her star Maggie Siff for Much Ado About Nothing, an appropriate, complicated companion piece.  But where Shrew succeeded because it treated the text with the appropriate amount of irony, Much Ado falters because it fails to […]

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Reviews

Shut It Down: Love’s Labor’s Lost at the Public Lab

Love’s Labor’s Lost is a strikingly knowing play.  Centered on four friends who rashly swear off women—only to fall in love, or think they fall in love, almost immediately afterwards—it unfolds with gentle irony, laughingly observing the absurdly narcissistic nature of most romantic tropes. The play closes—like Shakespeare’s later works The Winter’s Tale and Cymbeline—on a mixed note; in […]

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