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The Merchant of Venice

a Comedy/Drama
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by William Shakespeare

COMPANY : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
ID# 4909

SHOWING : June 02, 2016 - June 19, 2016

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

A lost fortune, a lover’s choice and one of the most powerful expressions of "the quality of mercy" in literature: meet Portia, Bassanio and Shylock, the Jewish moneylender and one of Shakespeare’s most controversial characters. A suspenseful comedy with a tragic core that has intrigued audiences for centuries. Does the expression of mercy come through in the characters’ actions?


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Laura Cole
Nerissa Kirsten Calvert
Duke of Venice/Old Gobbo/Morocco/Tubal O’Neil Delapenha
Gratiano Doug Graham
Lorenzo/Jailer/Morocco’s Man Jacobi Hollingshed
Shylock Doug Kaye
Salanio/Executioner Eric Lang
Jessica Amanda Lindsey
Launcelot Gobbo/Arragon/Jailer Vinnie Mascola
Antonio Matt Nitchie
Morocco’s Man/Balthasar/Stephano/Leona Tamil Periasamy
Salerino/Lady in Waiting/Musician Mary Ruth Ralston
Bassanio Chris Rushing
Portia Amee Vyas
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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The Mere Chant of Venice
by playgoer
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
3.0
Laura Cole’s 2016 production of "The Merchant of Venice" at the Shakespeare Tavern focuses on the somber. There’s plenty of comedy, but it’s as unbalanced as the scales of justice spotlighted at the start of the show. A lot of the comedy is given to actors who aren’t naturally comic actors, at least in the styles requested of them. Consequently, the whole enterprise falls a little flat.

It doesn’t help that the lead players from last year’s production, Amee Vyas (Portia) and Doug Kaye (Shylock), had noticeable line bobbles in the early performance I attended. Their performances are fine, but don’t seem yet to have hit their stride. The performances of the supporting players are more fluid, but tend to be on the lackluster side.

One exception is Doug Graham, as Gratiano. His bio indicates that this is his final performance on the tavern stage (just as his Fern Theatre Company has finished its final run). He has decided to go out with a bang. His performance is broad and explosive and a touch on the modern side, throwing off the balance of every scene he is in by shamelessly stealing focus. His character is paired romantically with Nerissa, and the performance of Kirstin Calvert is perfection, with a rounded, believable, engaging characterization.

The balding Chris Rushing gives a straightforward performance as the male romantic lead, Bassiano, while Matt Nitchie is a dour and near-mumbling Antonio, whose glum expression in the final spotlighted moment lets the audience assume that glumness is the intended impression for the show as a whole. Ms. Cole doesn’t seem to have inspired her cast with a unified vision, making this seem more a grab bag of performances than a targeted, focused approach. Last year’s production was a delight; this year’s is a bit of a mess. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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