Category: First Folio

Review: Captain Blood (First Folio Theatre)

Nick Sandys, Heather Chrisler and Austin England star in Captain Blood, First Folio           
      
  

Captain Blood

Adapted by David Rice
  from novel by Rafael Sabatini
First Folio Theatre, Oak Brook (map)
thru Feb 26  |  tix: $29-$39  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

February 18, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Fooling Buddha (First Folio Theatre)

David Kovac stars in First Folio Theatre's Fooling Buddha          
 
        
Fooling Buddha

Created & Performed by David Kovac
Developed  & Directed by Patrick New
First Folio Theatre, Oak Brook (map)
thru Apr 24  |  tix: $25-$49   |  more info 
       
Half price tickets available   
    

April 5, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Jeeves Takes a Bow (First Folio Theatre)

Jim McCance and Christian Gray star in First Folio Theatre's "Jeeves Takes a Bow" by Margaret Raether, directed by Alison C. Vesely. (photo credit: Stefani Foster LaBrecque)        
       
Jeeves Takes a Bow 

Written by Margaret Raether
Directed by Alison C. Vesely
Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oak Brook (map)
thru March 3  |  tickets: $26-$37   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

February 8, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe – A Love Story (First Folio)

Diane Mair as Virginia and Christian Gray as Edgar Allan Poe, in First Folio Theatre's "The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story" by David Rice, directed by Michael Goldberg.  (photo credit: David Rice)        
       
Madness of Edgar Allan Poe:
         A Love Story
 

Written by David Rice
Directed by Michael Goldberg
Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oak Brook (map)
thru Nov 4  |  tickets: $26-$37   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

October 8, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Merchant of Venice (First Folio Theatre)

Luke Daigle as Lorenzo and Cassidy Stirtz as Portia, in First Folio Theatre's "The Merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare, directed by Alison C. Vesely. (photo credit: David Rice)        
       
The Merchant of Venice 

Written by William Shakespeare 
Directed by Alison C. Vesely
at Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oakbrook (map)
thru Aug 19  |  tickets: $26-$37   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

July 18, 2012 | 1 Comment More

Review: Unnecessary Farce (First Folio Theatre)

Joe Foust and Erin Noel Grennan - Unnecessary Farce, First Folio       
      
Unnecessary Farce 

Written by Paul Slade Smith
Directed by Alison C. Vesely  
Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oakbrook (map)
thru March 4  |  tickets: $30-$37   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

February 12, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Romeo and Juliet (First Folio Theatre)

    
Kelsey Brennan, Will Allan - Romeo and Juliet Romeo and Juliet

Written by William Shakespeare  
Directed by Nick Sandys

Mayslake Peabody Estate
, Oakbrook (map)
thru Aug 7  |
tickets: $29-$35   |  more info

Check for half-price tickets

      Read entire review

       


July 9, 2011 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: Twelfth Night (First Folio)

Indian concept hinders First Folio production

 

Donald Brearley (Toby), Craig Spidle (Feste), Mouzam Mekkar (Maria) & Nick Maroon (Aguecheek)

   
First Folio Theatre presents
   
Twelfth Night
   
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by
Michael F. Goldberg
at
Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oakbrook (map)
Through August 8th  |  tickets: $23-$28  |  more info

reviewed by Oliver Sava

When developing a concept for a Shakespeare production, it is important to keep in mind how the changes will affect the audience’s experience. First Folio and director Melanie Keller (Olivia) & Nick Sandys (Malvolio)Michael F. Goldberg re-imagine Twelfth Night in colonial India, and the concept  comes with a variety of strengths and weaknesses in the outdoor venue.

Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s cross-dressing comedies, with heroine Viola (Minita Gandhi) disguising herself after a shipwreck separates her from her twin brother Sabastian (Behzad Dabu). As Cesario, Viola finds herself in the employ of Orsino (Anish Jethmalani), a nobleman hopelessly enraptured with the Lady Olivia (Melanie Keller), who falls in love with Cesario, who is really Viola in disguise. Then Sabastian shows up and gets confused with Cesario and everything eventually gets wrapped together in a nice little bow.

The romantic leads don’t seem to have much fire in their performances, with Gandhi and Jethmalani never really establishing a strong chemistry between their characters. Keller fares better in this respect, and I think that is because she isn’t burdened with an Indian dialect.

The choice to have some characters speak in an Indian dialect is unnecessary, and doesn’t add much to the piece besides muddling the diction and verse. It’s impossible to have a strong Shakespeare production without a precise handle on the language, and the dialect restricts the actors, making plots and jokes unclear and making it difficult to follow the action on stage amidst the chirps of crickets and other outdoor distractions. Twelfth Night struggles to really get the momentum moving because of this, and the acting fails to reach the same level of excitement as the design elements.

TwelfthNightPress02That isn’t to say the production isn’t without its charms. The Indian locale does bring an exotic flair to the proceedings, but aesthetics can only go so far. The strongest performances come from Sir Toby (Donald Brearley) and his gang, classic Shakespeare fools that drink and sing and comment on the inanities of the main plot line while relishing in their own silliness. Craig Spidle is a great co-star as the fool Festes, giving his scene’s partners plenty to work off of with his dry wit and perverted sense of humor, and Brearley is quite adept at playing drunk. Nick Sandys dominates the stage as Malvolio, Olivia’s manservant who meets a tragic fate after a prank goes awry. His Malvolio is pretentious, dowdy, and completely clueless, and he has a firmer handle of the language in dialect than his fellow castmates.

From a design perspective, Twelfth Night is spectacular, with the Eastern-inspired costumes and sets creating a beautiful environment for Shakespeare’s comedy to unfold in. Henry Marsh’s score is perhaps the most transformative aspect of the production, filling the outdoor space with the sitar sounds of traditional Hindustani music. The theatre’s Oakbrook location is a beautiful spot for a summer evening of theater, but in an area where sound is going to be a major issue, there shouldn’t be many changes to the language of the piece. By taking the concept too far, the production suffers as a whole, and is just barely saved by above-average supporting performances.

  
   
Rating: ★★½
   
   
Minita Gandhi (Viola) and Anish Jethmalani (Orsino) Donald Brearley (Toby), Craig Spidle (Feste) & Mouzam Mekkar (Maria)
Behzad Dabu (Sabastian), Melanie Keller (Olivia), Anish Jethmaliani (Orsino) & Minita Gandhi (Viola)

All Photos by David Rice.

July 15, 2010 | 1 Comment More