Fiasco Theatre’s Cymbeline

“He that sleeps feels not the toothache” (Act V, scene IV).

“Cymbeline is a great deal of fun. It’s also very strange” (A Note From the Directors, Playbill).

Okay, as far as Shakepeare goes, this is not a top-draw play. I jumped at the chance to go see it when I noticed it was playing at the New Victory Theatre on Broadway, as student tickets were only $10 (thank you Hunter College). I have a silly goal to see the complete Shakespeare cannon performed live before I die, and this one is so rarely produced. Why? It’s not a great
play (sorry, Shakespeare – may he rest in peace). It’s full of crazy exposition, the plot loosely meanders all over the place, and then – as if Shakespeare hit his required word count – the play ends. In a weird bit of cascading coincidences, all wrongs are quickly righted and everyone lives happily ever after.

Still, the Fiasco Theatre did a smashingly good job. Their elocution was impeccible. They didn’t shy away from the innuendo and the physical comedy, but the acting didn’t feel over the top either. The actors were also musicians. But this was less John Doyle, and more Brief Encounter. The music worked seamlessly with the text and provided a natural extension of key moments in the play.

The New Vic space is also a great venue. I’ve only seen shows from the balconly, but it’s such an intimate space, and the acoustics are stellar. There’s really not a bad seat in the house.

All in all, it was an excellent production, and I’m so glad I caught it before it closed.

PS – This was random:  as I was walking to the theater, L’Oreal had reps passing out coupons AND full size lipsticks! The color is actually quite wearable. Yay for freebies! I need to hang out in Times Square more often. Er, maybe…

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