The Straw and Shatford reviews continue to flow. First up, Ben Carlson's Hamlet directed by Adrian Noble - which gets 3.5/4 stars from me:
When Ben Carlson's Hamlet picks up Yorick's skull in that much-parodied graveside scene, he doesn't look the old jester straight in the eye sockets as is usual. Instead, he holds the cranium high above his head as if he is remembering being a small child below and contemplating the long, sad passage of time that separates that time of ignorant innocence from now.In the Star, Richard O. goes for the same number of stars and calls Carlson's "the kind of performance that comes along once in a lifetime," while John Coulbourn goes for 4.5/5 and shifts the focus to Noble.
There are dozens of magically melancholy moments like that in Adrian Noble's new production, where crisp direction and compelling acting combine to make Shakespeare's greatest play seem fresh even in its most familiar scenes. [Read on]
Next, back to Niagara-on-the-Lake and to Leonard Bernstein's Wonderful Town, which gets 3/4 stars for me:
New York, New York - it's a wonderful town. Actually, first it was "a helluva town," but in the film version of Leonard Bernstein's On the Town the lyric was softened.The Star's R.O. is half a star more enthused, while The Sun's Johnny C goes for 4/5.
And it was after that revised lyric that Bernstein's next musical, Wonderful Town, was titled. The least well-known of the composer's New York trilogy (the third being West Side Story), this 1953 Tony winner is getting an entertaining revival at the Shaw Festival that has its wonderful moments, but is not quite the helluva show it could be. [Read on.]