Monday, August 07, 2006

The Reviewer Reviewed

There are heat and kitchens. There is dishing out and taking. There are gooses and there are ganders. There is turnabout and there is fair play.

It's all well and good to blab my opinions in the WeboComicsBlogoNet, and publish my judgements. Now I'm on the other end of the equation, with reviews showing up in the papers over the weekend. No commentary here, as that's a mug's game ... but I will present them nonethless.

Fast-track 'Henry' is pretty amazing

The scenes are short. The acting is excellent. The set is simple and symbolic — some poles, a globe and a sword are really all it takes to remind us France and England have long been at war.

Director L.L. West's perky adaptation of "Henry V" goes a long way towards making this Shakespeare play appealing to modern audiences. Audiences are in for some hard slogging anyway, especially in some of the early scenes. Don't give up. Somewhere during the second half, you'll decide the script in general and several scenes in particular are pretty amazing.

Pared-down 'Henry V' is a mixed bag

In watching contemporary productions of Shakespeare's classic plays, we're used to the pomp-and-circumstance of period costumes and elaborate stage sets and gender-appropriate casting.

But as drama teachers are happy to remind we few, we happy band of theatergoers, some of what strikes us as experimental would have seemed traditional to the Bard's audiences. So when most layers of theatrical artifice are stripped away, what's left?

The spirit of inventive traditionalism is the most interesting element of Salt Lake Shakespeare's "Henry V," the way the production plays with audience expectations by paring down.


markus said...

they could be gushing a bit more, but from what I imagined it to be like those are quite good.

Hope there's some cash coming in.

Mark Fossen said...

" ... from what I imagined it to be like those are quite good"


It actually is a very good show.

markus said...

I imagined it to be good, just a tad on the dazzling, confusing side and perhaps not lacking some of the scope and grandeur that IMHO suits the play.
Plus, it's a lot of strain on the actors which is likely to make itself felt somewhere, there's no free lunch.

Basically an interesting experiment but one that comes with a price tag and the reviews pretty much state that the experiment is a sucess but the price noticable.

markus said...

"not lacking" should be "lacking"

Mark Fossen said...

That's probably a damn accurate assessment. This certainly isn't the Henry ... just a Henry. What this brings out quite nicely, though, is the community - it's not just Henry and his backup band of 35 supernumeraries. It becomes and ensemble piece about the effects of war on the people - not just an examination of Henry.

It's definitely and experiment, and I've done enough traditional Shakespeare that I relish the chance to screw with it a little, and see what falls out.

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