Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shaw Festival: The Little Foxes

Not nasty enough, according to my 2.5/4 star review in today's Globe:
While [Eda]Holmes's production tells the story competently enough, it is simply too polite.

For example, Regina's line about being either "a coloured or a millionaire" is in fact Holmes's bowdlerized version of Hellman's original line; the script uses the terrible word "nigger" there and throughout the script, but she or the Shaw has cut them all. I'm sure there were good intentions behind this anachronistic alteration, but my question is: If you're going to put on The Little Foxes but don't want to disturb or unsettle the audience, why put it on at all? [Read the whole thing.]
(I think, by the way, you could justify taking the N-word out of the show; it's just that here it's representative of an overall toning down of the production.)

Having just watched Des McAnuff's unostentatiously post-racial production of Romeo and Juliet last night (Juliet, Montague, Tybalt and Capulet's Wife being among those played by actors of colour) at Stratford, I'm particularly glad I highlighted the lack of colour-blind casting at Shaw so far this season in this review.* If I were a visible minority up at the Shaw, I think I would find it a little bit depressing that the only roles available to people who looked like me outside of the musical in the first round of openings were maids and servants... Little Foxes has a specific racial dynamic in its plot, but none of the other shows would have been hurt.

On the other hand: The Star's Richard Ouzounian gives The Little Foxes 2/4 stars, while The Sun's John Coulbourn goes for 3.5/5. John Law in the Niagara Falls Review, however, gives 4/5 and raves: "It's hard to imagine the Shaw operating at a higher level."

(NOTE: This post has been edited after I received an email informing me that Shaw's later openings will feature more colour-blind casting.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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