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Georgia Shakespeare2
Average Rating Given : 1.50000
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REVIEWS

The School for Wives, by Moliere
style no substitue for substance
Tuesday, July 8, 2003
1.0
Just finished reading the rave review that the AJC gave this production (by Wendell Brock, the unschooled, underexposed theatre critic we have measuring our products) and I am utterly mystified. Did I see the same show that he did??!!! I am more likely to see a show that he disliked (Richard II, Tempest) than a show that he relishes. That said, I am glad that the festival is selling tickets as the results of his pandering, but I am all too eager for someone to step up to the plate and really criticize these directors. Karen Robinson has a predictable track record of style with a capital jackhammer that leaves me reeling. What story is she attempting to tell, if any??!! I'm exhausted and utterly fed up with the pedestrian offerings at GSF that are heralded as triumphs.

Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare
Up to their old tricks
Monday, June 23, 2003
2.0
It's unfortunate, but every time I prepare to see a production at the Georgia Shakespeare Festival, I find that I'm willing myself to be open and generous, while fighting a nagging premonition that I'm in for a familiar evening of strong company of actors at the mercy of a conceptualized snooze.

I don't know when these guys are going to get it. I'm no purist, but the idea that somehow Shakespeare is inaccessable without some sort of modern spin, has left me exhausted and utterly frustrated. The most successful productions at the Festival, of course in my opinion, have been the most simple (Sabin Epstein's 12th Night, Hamlet, Garner's Midsummer Night's Dream, Ocel's Measure for Measure) with an emphasis on the language and storytelling, a grounding in the text itself, without some arbitrary overlay to, again, make it interesting for a contemporary audience. Note to Mr. Garner: it IS interesting and we WILL come WITHOUT the concepts! You have a strong company with a few exceptional actors who are utterly capable of telling the story. Alas, If the directors would only let them.

That said, this production largely works in spite of it's resetting, largely due to the cast. We've seen Chris Kayser do this same schtick for years, and still, it's engaging (when is someone going to push him to do something REALLY daring?) Carolyn Cook's smarts and abilty to simplify with the language is terrific. Brad Sherrill is gratefully understated and grounded. Joe Knezivech is typically wooden (when is this guy going to lighten up!!??) and Chris Enweiller turns in exactly the performance you'd expect from him (a Don John in all black, what a concept) - no surprises here.

A footnote to Mr. Garner: you're company seems to have outgrown your directors and, as a result, the emphasis of your productions is confused at best. It looks like actors fight to survive up there. Back to basics perhaps?

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