Reviewed by Paula Citron
Stratford’s production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a perfect example of a concept forced on a play.
Director Dean Gabourie’s vision is to set the play in late Edwardian times as if this early Shakespeare vehicle were a mix of vaudeville and a silent movie. For example, Julia and Silvia are stage actresses, and Valentine and Proteus are their stage door johnnies. The line “Welcome to the palace” indicates the Palace Theatre.
It just doesn’t fit, however. Silvia is the daughter of the Duke of Milan and nothing is going to change her nobility. The Keystone Kops routine just doesn’t work. It is also over-directed where each speech is so broken down that the words seem separated.
On the other hand, Tamara Marie Kucheran’s period costumes are gorgeous, and there is some lively acting from the young lovers. Robert Persichini does a lovely job as the servant Launce.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona continues at Stratford’s Studio Theatre until Sept. 19.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Dean Gabourie
Performed by Dion Johnstone, Gareth Potter, Sophia Walker, Clare Lautier, Bruce Dow and Robert Persichini
Studio Theatre, Jul. 30 to Sept. 19