This past Saturday (June 27th, 2015) was the last day of the St. Lou Fringe Festival and, by sheer coincidence, also the best one as far as the shows I saw went. Better yet, three of the four I saw were by local groups.
"The Tempest," that rich bittersweet fantasy, sits like a dessert atop the great feast of Shakespeare. This, the bard's final play, was given a splendid production by the Webster Conservatory under the direction of Paul Mason Barnes.
St. Louis Shakespeare warms up fall with a breezy, optimistic interpretation of one of Shakespeare's most popular romantic comedies. Set in Italy at the end of World War II, this version is bubbly and cheerful, filled with a hopeful tone and vibrant personality. The play overflows with sharp observations and broad humor, and the company meets the upbeat, eternally romantic tone in an enjoyable production that's constantly in motion, but never hurried.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is one of Shakespeare's most popular and accessible plays. The current production at the Repertory Theatre brings to life many of the features that explain its continuing appeal over the last 400 years.
St. Louis Shakespeare kicks off its thirtieth season with a passionate, emotionally layered production of "Hamlet" that remains faithful to the script while providing a few unexpected twists, most of which work to great effect.
Now that St. Louis in in the midst of its annual bout of baseball fever, it seems only appropriate that, starting this weekend and running through June 15th, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is offering local theatre fans a double header by presenting two plays in Forest Park instead of the usual one.
What can one make of "Hamlet"? Last night I learned that if someone is very intelligent and gifted she can "Make Hamlet" into a refreshing, gripping delight.
The Washington University Performing Arts Department production of "Twelfth Night" is a well-acted, well-interpreted production that does a lot to please its audience. The set and lighting design, by Quinlan Maggio and Sean M. Savoie, is simple, location, time and mood are suggested by projected shadows of bar tops and palm trees, as well as simple tables and benches. This simplicity by design helps to keep the long show moving at an enjoyable pace, energizing the actors and ensuring the audience remains engaged.
The plot of Othello is simple enough. An army general, Othello, a Moor, marries above his social station and outside his race. Also, he has chosen a young lieutenant, Michael Cassio, as his second-in-command.