First published in 1602 but believed to have been written before 1597, was Shakespeare’s play exclusively written about the Elizabethan era's middle class. Now flash forward the setting 328 years to the 1930s and you have The Porters of Hellsgate ‘flavor’ of a classic play.
Mischievous, daring and bold are the husbands and wives of this small community plotting deceit, denial and dare I say sexual promiscuity to thwart jealousy, lies and hysterical misdirection and scandal! What does this all mean? Fun, funny (with a dash of wit) for you the audience! Sprinkled with a dash of a cast performance of Cole Porter – who knew?
Some of the most memorable moments came from an energetic, humorous and enticing performance from Eliza Kiss, playing Mistress Quickly (pictured, bottom), who subtly spent a lot of her time stuffing her bosom with cash from all the favors and duties she performed for the mischievous couples and the overly zealous Falstaff. She can sing too!
Inventingly and original was the choices made by Gus Krieger as Master Ford (pictured, top), although somewhat inaudible once or twice, he took his character to include extreme facial expressions that sold exactly what was on his comically evil little mind.
Acting troupes like this one really compliment Shakespeare by getting to see such memorable and impressionable performance like Jack Leahy as Sir Evans with his vitality and spot on Welsh accent – or the punch driven excitement of Kitt Leonard as Master Shallow – or the dynamic rapport and comic timing between the spicy Kate O’Toole as Mistress Page (pictured, left) and the fast paced and very funny Dana DeRuyck as Mistress Ford (pictured, right).
I could tell the cast was having fun with this production and Dylan Vigus as Sir John Flagstaff (pictured, center) with his slightly overflowing ‘over-the-top’ performance certainly kept everyone in the play on their toes.
A really fun production with a small but simple set (and creatively entertaining scene changes and lighting). Director Charles Pasternak did an honest and fresh attempt to make something so very old seem something very new. A little slower paced is the first act, but pay attention to the second act - it hysterically whizzes by you! As I always say when I have fun with a fresh company, come one, come all - Bravo!