Audience: Katie Brastow
The cast are brilliant young Shakespearean actors who brought life to the text and hilarity to the situation with excellent rhetoric and engaging physical comedy. I was in stitches for most of the show. However, it is easy to see why this is one of Shakespeare's least often performed plays. While wit is never lacking, the plot seems to ramble on until the sudden event which marks its ending, and there are groups of characters that barely connect to the main lovers at all, except in the grand ending scene. They seem like less-successful versions of the rude mechanicals in Midsummer, who at least have Bottom to tie them to a major plot. However, the play was mostly riveting while I was in the audience. It was only after looking back on it that the awkwardness (by no fault of the director or the actors) began to bother me.
I had the pleasure of seeing this show in London in 2013, so I was particularly excited to take my mother to see it when it came here. There were only a few changes in the production. In London, when Toby (Christopher's rat) goes missing, the front of the stage opened up to reveal wires and tracks, which I think added to the suspense. There was a real sense of danger that wasn't present in the Los Angeles production. There are also a few language differences, which I understand are necessary. (Plus, the train worked, but I won't hold that against them. I suspect it was a one-time mistake.) If I had one criticism, it would be that I thought Christopher was much too charismatic. His voice was too dynamic to realistically portray a character whose understanding of nuance and facial expressions is extremely limited. However, it was a really wonderful evening at the theatre. The production quality is excellent. The lights are spectacular. Everyone's accent was well done. And I connected with Christopher like I never did while reading the book. I would recommend this production to anyone who had read the book, even if they didn't particularly enjoy it. I think this production gives a new perspective on the written word.