REVIEW: SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE at the Vintage Theatre

by Mona Lott

Shakespeare In Love playing until March 20th at The Vintage Theater might be called Shakespeare In Puppy Love.

This Vintage production just seems like it never got off the ground and the result is little disappointing. The show is full of talent and impressive credits, but it’s just not enough to get lift off. Impressive credits begin with the director, Christine Kahana, who had a unique idea for this production, much like an episode of “Stranger Things” Her timeline imagining is bold but lacks in execution.

Ryan Walkoviak’s set design is fun. At first glance his space makes one think of an Escher drawing and with all the levels and stairs and corners, the design promises to amuse. It’s all for nothing though when it is not utilized in the blocking. The blocking mostly involves characters entering from upstage and then Joining other characters downstage on floor level, completely ignoring the design possibilities!

Even this basic blocking is further disappointing when everyone gets into a choir like formation around the speaking characters and attempts to seem interested. It’s a difficult task burdened by the directors befuddled concept and the sound of almost constant pounding of actors running up and down the steps and drowning out all dialog.

At very least, everyone looks like they are having fun and seem ernest in their portrayals. Kahana was brave and daring, jumping off the cliff with her bold idea and hoping to land safely. Kahana should be applauded for trying something different.

These sort of imaginings lead to great art and I’m sure she has a lot of new ideas and scripts to be explored. I’m looking forward to seeing her next project.

 

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