BWW Review: [GAY] CYMBELINE at Theatre Prometheus
The ensemble, aptly directed by Tracey Erbacher, is really outstanding. The cast members should be commended for their comedic timing and physical humor, which remains tight even as Shakespeare's plot descends into mad schemes and mistaken identities. Erbacher has utilized the small performance space well and allows her actors to break the fourth wall strategically, delighting surprised audience members. There's a lot of funny business as characters change scenery, stow away in trunks, and perform musical numbers. But all this silliness never obscures the character work of the ensemble. Zach Boylan's Cloten is a hilariously clueless slacker who transforms into a devious prince, and Briana Manente brings swagger and humility to Posthumus. Jacqueline Chenault projects wisdom as Posthumus's servant Pisanio, and Caitlin Partridge is fantastic as Imogen. Partridge brings a wide-eyed innocence and determination to the unlucky princess and clearly has a deep understanding of the text (she was also the production's dramaturge).
The decision to cast a woman in the role of Posthumus is a revelation. Suddenly, Shakespeare's silly comedy has real political bite. And the chemistry between Partridge and Manente is electric. The gender-blind casting that follows allows other women to turn in star performances in roles that would have otherwise been closed to them, such as Rachael Murray as the hilariously clueless court doctor.
There are a few quibbles to be had: the modern pop cues in between scenes are fun but a little distracting, and the fight scenes in the second half feel unwieldy. But overall [gay] Cymbeline is an excellent production of a sometimes difficult play. I highly recommend you grab a ticket before the run comes to an end January 29th, 2017.
Photo Credit: Patrick Lachance