Thursday, February 28, 2013

Two Gentlemen

The BBC Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona was, sadly, a dismal and boring affair. I believe I enjoyed it even less than All's Well That Ends Well, which was my least favorite production up to this point. The young cast seemed to have been directed with the approach that dead earnestness was the only way to handle the material, but this proved an unsatisfactory choice, especially at the perplexing end.

None of the actors were able to distinguish themselves, with Joanne Pearce coming closest to giving a pleasing performance. I found it impossible to care about anyone or anything in the entire production. And what an ugly set! The forest looked like something knocked together by a community theatre with a $50 budget.

It did make me more curious to know the 1971 musical version, with book and lyrics by John Guare. What made them choose this play for adaptation is puzzling.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ringo at the Ryman DVD!

I saw the concert and have written about the forthcoming DVD here a couple of times, but Amazon now says that the Ringo at the Ryman DVD will be released on March 19th!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Which Twin Wins the Tony?

"The Comedy of Errors" marks the 30th film I've seen in the BBC Shakespeare series. I enjoyed it a lot, thanks primarily to the excellent comic performances of Michael Kitchen and Suzanne Bertish. Roger Daltrey was also enjoyable, although I felt he was at times a bit less assured than his fellow actors.

Kitchen and Daltrey both did well in differentiating their two roles, as the two Antipholi and Dromios respectively. Of course when casting these parts, you try to find actors who look as much alike as possible. But for a film or video version, casting the same actor as both of twins creates rather the opposite challenge: How can the audience know which twin they're looking at at any given time? Kitchen alternated between easygoing and stern, while Daltrey worked the silly/serious angle, making sure the audience stayed clearheaded while the play's characters were in a perpetual state of confusion.

I was in "The Boys From Syracuse" many years ago, playing Antipholus of Syracuse, and our production of the musical adaptation was certainly more "slapstick-y" than this BBC offering. I did think director James Cellan Jones could have picked up the pace a bit. Things really bogged down when Wendy Hiller's Aemilia came on the scene at the end; a bit of comic eccentricity would have livened up her role.

Still, one of the more enjoyable offerings of late!