Shakespeare's comic masterpiece found a sunny respite from a cold New York winter in an Illyria off the coast of Italy, on a luxurious terrace overlooking the sea. Set in the technicolor of 1950s films, Theater 1010's cast of jet-setters and a few drunk and disorderly friends and relatives indulged their passions, simultaneously revealing moments of loneliness and even danger, amidst the fun in the sun.
Last year's OOBR Award-winning company did not sit on their laurels, offering a number of exceptional performances, with several auspicious NYC debuts. Christopher P. Meyer's Orsino was a handsome and sensual young playboy. Meghan Shea's agile, boyish Viola was delightful, and her ease with Shakespeare's text a pleasure. Lou Tally, one of the debutants, was a wonderful Toby Belch, providing riotous drunken antics. Aaron Morgan, also in a debut, matched Tally's energy and brought a delicious screwball energy to Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Diane Buglewicz's witty and charming Maria rounded out this winning comic trio.
Miles Phillips's Feste was a bongo-playing beatnik with a fabulous singing voice, but why was he given Spanish music to sing in Italy, and why was the structure of his Shakespearean music contorted so strangely? Phillips was also given too many effeminate gestures, which detracted from his fine work. Judith Jarosz's gracious Olivia brought out the many comic subtleties this role requires, which most actresses usually miss. However, costume designer Erin Billings (whose designs for The Hamlet Project across town are wonderful) must be taken to task for outfitting Jarosz in frumpy ensembles, and a matronly blonde wig more appropriate for Ethel Mertz or Trixie Norton than a glamorous princess. With a period offering some of the most gorgeous clothes possible, how could this happen? James Doherty's Malvolio was a crowd-pleasing, comic gem, but director Rowan dragged out his letter scene a bit too long.
Kari Martin's romantic set and flattering lights were ideal for the sun-kissed proceedings. The comic fight choreography by Rob Kinter and Aaron Morgan was top-notch, and most of the characters looked great in their '50s-style duds.
With James Reade Venable, Amanda Duffy, Allen
Hale, Scott McKinstry, Paul L. Coffey, and Alfredo
Lighting: 2/Sound: 2
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Copyright 2001 Julie Halpern