by Lynn on May 29, 2012

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Written by William Shakespeare. Directed by Christopher Newton. Designed by Santo Loquasto. Lighting by Robert Thomson. Music by Jonathan Monro. Choreography by Jane Johanson. Starring: Ben Carlson, Bethany Jillard, Deborah Hay, Tyrone Savage.

Beatrice and Benedick have a history. He jilted her and she was none too pleased. She snipes at him whenever she can. Claudio and Hero are young, in love and about to marry when trouble gets in the way aided by Claudio’s gullibility.

This is Shakespeare’s charming, funny love-letter to sparing partners who eventually realize they love each other. It stars Deborah Hay as Beatrice and Ben Carlson as Benedick. Hay and Carlson are the golden couple of the moment—wonderful actors both, married to each other.

The production is directed by Christopher Newton, a smart director, and the former Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival.

Anticipation therefore was very high for a sparkly, witty buoyant production. Such a disappointment. Hay and Carlson are wonderful. The direction by Newton is not. Much of this production is dull, clumsy, muddled and subtext often is lost because of inattention.
The set by Santo Loquasto is overpowered by a meandering staircase that cuts off half the audience from the other side of the stage. I don’t think that’s a good thing.

Full review on Friday, June 1, on CIUT FRIDAY MORNING 89.5 FM between 9 am and 10 am.

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