Parting is such sweet sorrow.
On Thursday night the new revival of Romeo and Juliet opened and last week I had the opportunity to see it. I was incredibly excited because I love Shakespeare and also because I’d never seen a professional production of R&J. Also: Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad were starring in it. With Chuck Cooper and Jayne Houdyshell to boot. I was just as excited for the cast as I was for the iambic pentameter.
As per usual with Shakespeare, the set (by Jesse Poleshuck) was sparse and the lighting (by David Weiner) was interesting. The costumes (by Fabio Toblini) were more Baz Luhrman-esque than Elizabethan.
I’d heard complaints about the chemistry between Bloom and Rashad but I didn’t have any problem – in fact I liked them both a lot. I also adored Chuck Cooper as Lord Capulet as he was absolutely frightening. Justin Guarini gave a surprisingly convincing performance as Paris too. (As it turns out, he has more than one facial expression contrary to his performance in American Idiot.) And Houdyshell as the Nurse? Maybe the best in the cast. Editors Note: Christian Camargo’s Mercutio was gripping and perfect too. You can definitely see why Juilliard wanted him.
I’m not sure what prompted this revival, as Broadway is surely inundated with Shakespeare this season, but I’d say its definitely worth a viewing if you’re a fan of the play or any of it’s cast members.
Disclaimer: Tickets were gratis courtesy of SC.
When shall we three meet again?
I love Macbeth. It’s my favorite of Shakespeare’s dramas. I studied it while I was abroad in London. I worked at the last broadway revival starring Patrick Stewart (I watched that production 13 times in all it’s 3 hour and 15 minutes of glory). I was excited but honestly skeptical when I learned it would be coming back again this season.
As a one-man show. That was one act and an hour and forty five minutes long. What?! But the silver lining was that Alan Cumming would be the star. He’d be playing all the characters. Still: the prospect was intimidating.
But yesterday I went to see the recent revival and I was absolutely blown the fuck away.
The premise is that Alan Cumming is a patient in an institution playing all these characters in his padded cell. They make full use of the three cameras and screens watching him. In all fairness, there are two actors in the show with him but they are there mostly to watch over him occasionally and sedate him when necessary.
The concept is truly heartbreaking to watch. Any time Cumming gets a little too into the action he’s imagined, the doctors rush in to sedate and put him back into his bed where he curls up in the fetal position and cries briefly.
Alan Cumming is a force to be reckoned with. He’s incredible. During the curtain call, he seemed very humbled and surprised to be receiving so much attention for his out-of-this-world performance.
I love Macbeth and if you do too, this is a production not to be missed.
Disclosure: My company works on this show, but I am in no way shilling for them.