Arden of Faversham
Red Bull Theater.
"Arden of Faversham" at The Lucille Lortel Theatre is a fun, well written show. Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher and Kathryn Walat, the play moves along at a pretty even pace; the show never gets slow nor ackward throughout the one hour and forty minutes.
The play itself is a mystery as to who wrote it; was it Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, or was it written by William Shakespear? Whoever wrote this 1592 play, it is today the most famous anonymous play from the Elizabethian era. My guess is that it was a collaboration, as it has a lot of the Bard, Kyd, even Thomas Watson to it.
The Red Bull Theater has lately put on some really good plays (The Alchemist and The Government Inspector). Much like the aforementioned, the scenic design was very similar from one show to the other. Christopher Swader and Justin Swader do a good job here especially with such a small stage. The set makes it very easy for the actors to move about, exit and enter with ease. The useful movement of scenes is also smooth for the audience to digest.
Lighting by Reza Behjat was highly effective. In the plays darker scenes, Behjat hits the lighting perfectly. The lighting is usually understated throughout, however, when the show needs a bold statement, Behjat is right on the money. The shows colors were well thoughout and supported the very heartbeat of the performance.
For the most part the shows direction was solid. Jesse Berger had a fluidness to the show. At times there were some errors as to actors general movement (maybe not blocked well). The comedic timing was excellent and the interaction among characters too was very good. Berger had this upbeat play moving in a timely pace.
Nina Field and Greg Pliska, like the lighting, had a great backbeat in the sound design. Never overbearing, never to weak, the sound was complimentary to the performance. Many of the scenes to make the show work depended on the lights and sound and both were terrific.
Where the play lags is twofold. The costumes were lazy, not fitting for the plays times. Modern suits, high heels and shoes that are not even close to the times in which this play was written. It was almost a disappointment to watch the characters in some of the costumes that the audience had to endure looking at. While some actors were in traditional regalia, a lot weren't and that added distraction to the words being said on stage.
Casting by Stuart Howard was a mish mosh. While certain actors were excellent, others were weak and as such, it was obvious at times that the really good actors had to carry the performance. Cara Ricketts as Alice was excellent; her husband Thomas Jay Ryan, not so much. Ricketts blended much better with Tony Roach (Mosby her lover). Emma Greer as Susan was very good in her role as was Zackery Fine. The funniest of scenes by the two hired killers were raucous throughout (reminicient of Monte Python).
"Arden of Faversham" is a worthwhile show to see. It has humor, and for the most part, the actors hit the accents of the time. Like many off Broadway shows, however, actors are miscast and also are to inconsistent in their acting. Likegood in her role the Alchemist, this show had a few actors that hurt the play in that they weren't believable in their parts. While Thomas Jay Ryan is a good actor, he was not good in his role as Arden... he just wasn't believable enough. Widow Green too was very miscast and not very belieable (she at times started her lines before she should have).
Robert Massimi writes for Metropolitan Magazine, swmnimbus.org, Nimbus Magazine, Mann About Town which is part of Fashion Manuscript and Mann Report.
WABC Radio, What Gives TV, www.nypost.com, www.nytimes.com, Mike Urbanks, www.redbull.com, Jesse Berger, Lucille Lortel Theatre, Cara Ricketts, Veronica Falcon, Emma Greer, www.medium.com, www.behance.com, off Broadway, Thomas Jay Ryan, William Shakespear, Thomas Kyd, Elizabethian Age, England, Christopher Marlowe, Arden of Faversham, Reza Behjat, Greg Pliska, Christopher Street, New York City, New York, www.wsj.com.
About the Creator
Robert M Massimi.
I have been writing on theater since 1982. A graduate from Manhattan College B.S. A member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, which recognizes excellence in both English and Science. I have produced 12 shows on and off Broadway. I've seen over700 shows
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