Sunday, January 20, 2008

Beard of Avon


Portland Center Stage
January 15 - March 19, 2008

Review by Mint Tumbles

Delightful performances from hollow script. Shakespearian structurewith high court plot (de Vere) and low (Shakspere) amusing, if forced. Stagey conceits largely work, ditto the all-purpose set. Lovely use of song from Ben Buckley. Darius Pierce is funny as Will, Catherine Lynn Davis affecting as Anne. Wordplay and wigplay.

18 comments:

syria said...

Fatuous, soulless, ignorant. Ignores history, reduces Elizabethan England to a creatively and intellectually bankrupt imitation of Hollywood today. Not that the director made even that much of a leap. Good acting can't save this awful script. Meanwhile, the blocking continually throws dust into the audience's faces. A great play for people who laugh at Latin phrases they can't understand and think Queen Elizabeth's names are funny.

Anonymous said...

Um, Syria?

That show opened on 1/15 at 7:30.

You posted your comment at 6:16.

How can you possibly have seen the production before you posted?

kip said...

The Beard of Avon had a preview performance on Jan. 13th.

The script DOES ignore history and made it difficult to appreciate. However, the performances were solid, the costumes were wonderful, the set was inspired (considering they are using it for two completely different productions). I would disagree with Syria that the whole production was soulless...Darius P. and Ben B. provide heart and charisma.

Anonymous said...

I assume that "Syria" saw a preview performance. Perhaps the pay-what-you-will that was on the 13th.

syria said...

I went to the preview night. Perhaps "meaningless" would be a better word than "soulless". Everyone involved is very committed and did a good job. My issue is with the script, not the cast.

la foi said...

I don't know if I thought it was meaningless exactly -- just dead boring. First of all, who beyond scholars cares who "really" wrote Shakespeare's plays? But secondly: if you ARE going to write a play about this subject, why reduce it to a sitcom? I wouldn't have minded the subject if it was a gripping race through arcane debates of ownership, if someone opened a window into why they were fascinated with the topic. But as it was I just saw no point to this play. A waste of beautiful resources. Maybe Twelfth Night makes better use of the set & actors.

Anonymous said...

Cate Davis, Brent Harris and Ken Albers bring a level of skill rarely scene in Portland. And Darius Pierce is absolutely wonderful as Will.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but "a level of skill rarely seen in Portland." is a ridiculous statement to make and disparages the excellent actors here. The idea that portland actors are less talented than other cities is shortsighted and shows why theatres like PCS constantly hire out-of-town actors who, at times, are no better than what we've got right in our own backyard.

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear!

Anonymous said...

Hehe : )

"...rarely scene..."

Anonymous said...

Please. I've said nothing to disparage anyone in Portland. Its just that 3 of the actors I mentioned have decades of experience plying their craft at the highest levels of American regional theatre. My observation is that kind of experience grants them a level of inordinate skill, which I think should be admired, studied, emulated and above all respected.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you DID say something to disparage Portland actors. Perhaps you should look at some of the experience (spanning decades) of some of the portland based actors. I have seen productions in many of the regional theatres that at times are brilliant and, at other times, could use the skill of some portland actors. I was recently in NY and was shocked that some broadway shows actually had bad performances. My god...is it possible?!

woody said...

It's a comedic work of fiction: why does it matter that it ignores history?

-w

syria said...

Woody, you're too general. It's not about rules for all drama. This play is sold as an alternative history; that alternative history is complete bullshit. PCS advertised it as not complete bullshit, so I let people know I disagree. Hope this illuminates!

Anonymous said...

I adored this production. Yes, it's rather a stupid subject, yes, I didn't really see a point to the story but I loved the performances, set, & costumes. It's wonderful to see Darius, a local actor, which such a fun part. He has brilliant comic timing and I loved what he brought to the part. Brent Harris!!! Need I say more...this man is brilliant. What a lovely, layered, textured nuanced performance for such a foppy part. Bravo! Strong performances all around. Great direction from Chris! Congrats PCS!

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this show. I wasn't bothered by the advertising because I didn't pay any attention to it. (Have you noticed how film trailers can be? The previews for "Sweeney Todd" studiously avoid letting the great unwashed know that it's a musical.) If you just watch the play, it's perfectly obvious that it's a somewhat post-modern, very tongue-in-cheek farce, so discussions of "historic accuracy" miss the point, in my opinion. (Here's news for you: Shakespeare altered the facts, too.) And it's great to see Darius become a f**kin' STAR!

Anonymous said...

To me it is clever script marrying Shakespeare's structure with a humorous take on the possible evolution of his remarkable language. Ms. Freed's tip of the hat to Shakespeare's greatness by promoting the idea that such rich and multi-layered work should by all rights have been written by more than one person, but indeed was a result of one genius's pen worked for me as well. Another pass through editing would have been useful. Acting WAS tops!

Anonymous said...

This is nothing less than one of the best productions to be seen on a Portland stage this season.

Absolutely amazing and fun. If you haven't seen it, don't miss. This is indeed a level of professionalism you will see nowhere else in town.

Taken along with TWELFTH NIGHT, PCS has pulled off a hugely ambitious project here.

Too many great actors to single anyone else.

Major triumph. Bravo.