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A DISAPPOINTING (TWELFTH) NIGHT AT A NOISE WITHIN
By Mark Share
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|At A Noise Within’s old home in Glendale, you had to climb multiple staircases in a strange old tower to reach the intimate theater. At the new space in Pasadena, you climb down into a utilitarian cave. The last Shakespeare play in Glendale, Comedy of Errors, was a fun show highlighted by Jerry Kernion as Dromio, a silly film of the separation at sea, and the use of puppets when the twins appeared together on stage. The first Shakespeare production in Pasadena, Twelfth Night, was a labored and boring exercise in strained fun. |
Matters started off on the wrong foot with the directorial decision to begin the play chronologically and logically with Viola’s long expository speech, instead of beginning, as most texts have it, by setting the dreamy tone with Duke Orsino’s graceful “If music be the food of love, play on.” Matters charged ahead down the wrong path with strident and distracting Caribbean scenery and music.
The comic touches were diminished by the aging of the company, a problem shared by other companies like South Coast Rep. If you thought Jerry Kernion was past the age to play a young slave getting comically beaten in Comedy of Errors and that Abby Craden was uncomfortably miscast as a 20-something wife in that play, wait until you see the mature Ms. Craden strutting around as Olivia with hardly any clothes in Twelfth Night. It is defensible to play Olivia as a cougar pouncing on Cesario, but the performance seemed like the company’s coddling Ms. Craden’s self-regard.
Voice is a central strength of ANW productions, and to be fair the play sounds much better than it looks. As Malvolio, Geoff Elliott in particular centers his performance on his wonderful voice, but you could say that his role was better enjoyed with one’s eyes closed.
The good news is that the run is over, and we can look forward, I expect, to much better shows fitting ANW’s history and reputation, assuming the company is not disheartened by its new space being in the basement instead of the tower.
Twelfth Night at A Noise Within. October 29 to December 16, 2011.
January 6th - 15th
A Noise Within presents Noises Off - back by popular demand
3352 E. Foothill Blvd. Pasadena.
Parking in the structure makes for a long walk through ugly terrain, but there is valet parking in front.
--Mark Share (eyespylareviews[at]gmail.com)
Photos courtesy of the production
For more on theatre, or to read our latest reviews visit our ON STAGE IN LA page. To find local listings of theatres in your area please see our THEATRE or general ENTERTAINMENT page.
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Don't miss out on our editorials, free & discount ticket offers, and all of the other fun things
to do in LA each week. Take a look at some past issues HERE
FREE Eye Spy LA
Don't miss out on free & discount ticket offers
and all of the other fun things to do in LA each week.
Take a look at some past issues HERE
MONTHLY EVENTS CALENDAR
June is not just for Grads and Dads.
Summer is here. Pack a picnic! Look forward to lots of free outdoor entertainment at local parks
beginning later this month.
ART THIS WEEK IN L.A.