Director and lead actor Thomas Bigley gives an enormous passion to his choice of staging and direction that doesn’t distract from his own sharpened performance. Written by Shakespeare in 1603, Thomas is playing the lead role of Duke Vincentio who also doubles his identity as the Friar Lodowick to basically perceive how his city and people are running the community that is his reign. Thomas is clear and quick and often poignant with all his deliveries and very interesting to watch.
Generally considered a comedy, most critics feel it’s one of Shakespeare’s more ‘broken’ dramas. This theatre's production makes it interesting and funny where it needs to be and the drama comes from the multi-leveled characters and the lies they weave.
For example, an incredible performance was given by Jennifer Bronstein who plays Isabella, a novice nun who passionately pleads for her brother’s life. Jennifer is real and sincere in relating her pain to the audience. Now there is a quirky, although rushed, but memorable performance by Gus Krieger who plays a Lord who is more than a little nosey, curious and often in the right place at the right time for the wrong reasons.
Another smaller, yet standout performance was that of Sean Faye, who plays the Constable Elbow who energetically leaps out with his proud and ruffled brashness. His expressions are filled with passion! The character designed to run the community while the Duke does his double identity is Angelo, played rather realistically if a bit timidly by Justin Michael Terry.
Believing things could not get more complicated, the character Mariana tries to help Isabella but has some passions and desires of her own she is hiding. Kate O’Toole plays Mariana boldly and with conviction that supports both her and the rest of the cast.
Other noteworthy performances came from that of Timothy Portnoy playing Provst, the person who runs the prison and follows the orders of Angelo with some trepidation. Timothy was right to the point and energetic. Matt Colloway playing Isabella’s convicted brother gives a sympathetic reading of his character.s woe.
The Porters of Hellsgate Theatre Company really does extremely good Shakespeare productions even with Shakepeare's not-so-well-known plays. Watching ‘Measure For Measure’ really invigorates the respect and passion that you can only get in live Theater. I applaud this production for its boldness, passion and fun! This production runs til October 28 at Whitmore Lindley Theatre 11006 Magnolia Blvd. North Hollywood.
www.portersofhellsgate.com 818 325-2055
Pic 001 Jacques Freydont and Justin Michael Terry
Pic 002 Jennifer Bronstein