Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Heather Ann Gottlieb
Produced by Steven Brandon, Mark Laird, Bradley Gosnell, Rachel Rios and Ari Stidham
The Group Rep presents "A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM" written by William Shakespeare, directed by Marc Singer playing at the Lonny Chapman Theatre through December 31.
I have seen quite a lot of Shakespeare. I’m from England, so it’s somewhat compulsory from birth, to be honest. I’ve visited the RSC, a couple of times, seen plays at The Globe, and The National Theatre in London, as well as numerous tours. In LA I attend the Shakespeare in the Park almost religiously and visit Will Greer’s when I can.
So, Shakespeare in NoHo?
William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” storms onto the T.U. Studio stage. This classic romantic comedy is an exhilarating evening with ship wrecks, magic, spirits and monsters, young love, drunken fools, sword play, political conspiracy, betrayal and forgiveness? A Jamaica Moon Production presents, what is said to be Shakespeare’s swan song. This performance is a “No Fear Shakespeare” The Tempest adaptation by John Crowther, (simply said this is an abridged version that has been translated into current day English and blended with original text).
“The Tempest” central figure is deposed Duke Prospero, (Robert May), who has been marooned for a dozen years on an enchanted island with Miranda, (Lauren Plaxco) his young daughter. During his exile, Prospero, a student turned master of sorcery, captured two magical island creatures; a spirit Ariel (Lucy Walsh) and the monstrous son of a witch Caliban (Francis Lansang).
Enlisting his supernatural powers and the aid of his enchanted captive, Prospero is able to bring to the island the enemies who had betrayed him; among them his traitorous brother Antonio, (Glenn Fancher), who seized his position, and Alonso, (Jeff Hamasaki Brown) the King of Naples, who aided in the takeover, and Ferdinand (Chad Doreck), the son of Alonso, who falls in love with Miranda.
Once his enemies are delivered, allowing him to to exact his revenge, he chooses not kill or harm them, though he does use his power to teach them a lesson or two. Instead it is revealed that Prospero’s intent is forgiveness. In the end, love prevails, those enslaved are freed, Prospero is able to return to his Dukedom, and good triumphs over evil.
With laughter and merriment throughout, there were several stand-out performances. Lucy Walsh’s Ariel as a light airy spirit was magnetic. She quivers with fear, dances with glee, bounds into action, and blends imperceptibly as though she were born a spirit.
Francis Lansang’s Caliban was enthralling. His body contorted, face distorted, Francis manages to compassionately give Caliban a soul.
Justin Truesdale’s Stephano and Alex Miller’s Trinculo are an amusing duo well deserving of the laughter and applause garnered by their wild and crazy performances.
Director Gloria Gifford has once again skilfully brought classic theatre to the masses, she is worthy of acclaim.
For an enchanted evening, see William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” This performance is entertainment for both the Shakespearian connoisseur, and the nouveau alike.
Robert May (l.), Chad Doreck, Lauren Plaxco, Otari Daneliya, Kevin Ferris, Billy Budinich
Lucy Walsh (l.), Jeff Brown, Christian Maltez, Glenn Fancher.