(Henry Hitchings's article appeared in the Evening Standard, 2/19.)
Sins of the state in Measure For Measure
Measure for Measure is one of Shakespeare’s more flawed creations yet it contains three superb roles, and in Michael Attenborough’s inspired production they are played with both gravity and a fantastic sparkle.
The action takes place in Vienna, not in the age of Habsburg finery but close to the present. We are in a world torn between slutty excess and moralistic solemnity — its contradictions cleverly conveyed by Lez Brotherston’s versatile design — and a resounding note of debauchery is struck in the opening sequence, a brief display of genuinely dirty dancing.
(Karl Levett’s review appeared in Backstage 2/15.)
Measure for Measure
Theatre for a New Audience at the Duke on 42nd Street
"Measure for Measure" is a play that's alive with contradictions, a dark comedy that abounds in moral ambiguities. The characters are trapped by these very ambiguities, but then so is the play's director, who has to cut his or her way through them to bring the proceedings to life. The latest to take up that challenge is Arin Arbus. Hers is a straightforward, intelligent, well-spoken interpretation that puts Shakespeare's words center stage. On a bare thrust stage, the play is also almost puritanically spare, with the characters in the colorless uniformity of modern dress. But the ensemble, led by a truly impressive Jefferson Mays, works hard to present a complex tale that, while low on atmosphere and murky passion, is notable for its clarity and accessibility.
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