Review: Shakespeare on Love

Shakespeare on LovePresented by South Australian Shakespeare Company
Reviewed Tuesday 22nd January 2013

This production, originally adapted and directed for the 2010 Fringe by Tiffany Lindall-Knight, is getting another outing, this revised version being under the direction of Cheryl Bradley. The production looks at some of the many aspects of love, as seen through the Elizabethan eyes of William Shakespeare.

As a prelude the ethereal music of composer DJ Trip, The Lovers Duet, brings dancers Kate Scully and Tobiah Booth-Remmers from the house to perform a short contemporary pas de deux, choreographed by Leanne Mollison. Mollison’s past involvement with Leigh Warren and Dancers can be detected in her choreography. Dancing barefoot on carpet appeared to be causing some reduction in grip, and hence in stability, which affected the fluidity of the piece. This should improve as they get used to dancing on such an unfamiliar surface.

With the audience seated on the lawns at the front of the house, historic Carclew, and the temporarily carpeted part of the drive in front of it, become both stage and backdrop for an evening of Shakespeare’s love scenes. The balcony above the front door is, of course, perfect for the scene from Rome and Juliet, where they first express their love for one another. Love is not always easy, though and Kate is not so easily convinced in The Taming of the Shrew. Perseverance pays off and Henry V wins over Katherine de Valois, even though they speak little of each others languages and need the help of an interpreter, her attendant Alice. A Midsummer Night’s Dream introduces some comic confusion to a magically bewildered love triangle, and so the interludes continue, flowing from one to another.

Anna Cheney and Tim Overton play the two lovers in each scene, throughout the performance, and Sara Lange fills in as all of the other characters. Cheney and Overton work well together, no matter what pairing it might be, from the mutually heated love of the young Romeo and Juliet, to the calculated romance and initial antagonism of Katherine and Petruchio. They find and bring out the essence of each scene to answer director, Bradley’s, overarching question that informs this production, “What is love?”. They handle the rapidly changing relationships with the ease one would expect of such professionally trained actors, sometimes going from one scene to another with an imperceptible pause.

Aside from taking on all of the auxiliary roles, and collecting and delivering props, Lange has a chance to do more, reciting Sonnet 18, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Her’s was a fine interpretation delivered with all of the emotion that Shakespeare expresses throughout the first 126 Sonnets, all addressed to a young man, the “Fair Youth”. There have been many suggestions as to who he might have been, and what their relationship was. Lange actually expresses some ambiguity in her reading that expresses this.

Matthew Gregan add some excellent work on guitar, interacting with the performers rather than just as background music, and Alex Plisko’s lighting , once the sun had set, worked well. The one difficulty was with the radio microphones that would fade in and out due to the large performance area, from the balcony, to the ground, though the audience and off to either side.

Don’t waste too long in booking, as Shakespeare always has great appeal, and this is a very appealing production.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

Shakespeare on Love web site

Venue: Carclew lawns, 11 Jeffcott Street, North Adelaide
Season: to 8th February 2013
Duration: 60mins
Tickets: $20-$25
Bookings: Book via TryBooking here or 0404 937 366

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