Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pericles @ Polonsky Shakespeare Center w/ Theater For New Audiences

Performed at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center, Pericles was a well choreographed and inventive trip into the world of William Shakespeare. Directed by Trevor Nunn, the play was mildly untraditional and entertaining. Music and songs by Shaun Davey were done in the Shakespearean style and complemented the play and cast very well.

Scenic Designer Robert Jones’ thrust stage was intriguing: it had a golden orb in its center that was able to open up to different sizes, depending on the needs of the performance. Behind it were waves, sand, monuments—it was highly innovative and captivating. Costume Designer Constance Hoffman also had a Shakespearean and Middle Eastern flair with some costumes having the likeness of a snake (Antioch), of mourning (Tarsus), of poverty vs. entitlement (Pentalpolis), piety (Ephesus), and chastity vs. lust (Mytelene).

Our narrator, Gowen (Raphael Nash Thompson) set the scene with gusto and affability. He was well connected with the Shakespearean prose and pulled laughter from the audience on more than one occasion.

Pericles was played by Christian Camargo. Camargo depicted Pericles’ varying ages and stages of grief and merriment well. His performance was believable within the unbelievable nature of Pericles. Philip Casnoff portrayed Tyre’s second-in-command Helicanus, who was amiable and flowed with the prose as well.

However, I was not fond of the performances of Gia Crovatin (Thaisa) and Lilly Englert (Marina). While neither of them missed an inflection, their approach to their characters had a sense of mild overacting that I do not tend to enjoy. Both of them also lacked chemistry with Camargo.

Although, John Rothman’s Simonides was hilarious and had a masterful grip of Shakespeare’s work. He enraptured the audience and had them all but on their feet during his short time on the stage. Other notables include Will Swenson (Cleon), Nina Hellman (Dionyza), Ian Lassiter’s many characters including Lysimachus, a fisherman and a lord of Tyre as well as John Keating’s repeat performances as a lord of Tyre, a fisherman and Boult.

All other members of this twenty person play: Earl Baker Jr., Sam Morales, Oberon K.A. Adjepong, Zachary Infante, Will Swenson, Patrice Johnson Chevannes and the Pigpen Theatre Company’s Alex Falberg, Ben Ferguson, Curtis Gillen, Ryan Melia, Matt Neurnberger, Arya Shahi and Dan Weschler performed wonderfully.

Overall, Trevor Nunn’s direction was distinctly Shakespearean with an outstanding use of blocking, lighting (Stephen Strawbridge) and choreography (Brian Brooks). If you are looking for a night of Shakespeare, Pericles may be a good destination.

Review By: Alex Lipari
Photos By: Richard Termine

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