Review Roundup: SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE at Virginia Repertory Theatre
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE will run at Virginia Repertory Theatre through October 8. The show, which is based on the 1998 Oscar winning film of the same name, was adapted for the stage by Lee Hall.
Disguised identities and a clandestine love affair inspire a young Will Shakespeare to pen the greatest love story of all time. Based on the Oscar-winning film, this delightful comedy of Shakespearean proportions re-imagines the romance between the writer and his muse.
The cast stars Betsy Struxness as Viola, BranDon Carter as Will Shakespeare, Shravan Amir as Christopher 'Kit' Marlowe, Keith Richards as Philip Henslowe, Joseph Bromfield as Lord Wessex, Scott Wichmann as Ned Alleyn, and Susan Sanford as Elizabeth I of England.
The cast also includes Matthew Radford Davies as Richard Burbage/ de Lesseps, Jacquie O'Connor as Nurse, J. Ron Fleming as Hugh Fennyman, Mariea Terrell as Miss Quickly/Kate, Levi Meerovich as Wabash, Nate Ritsema as Sam, Donathan Arnold as John Webster, Randy Risher as Tilney, Keaton Hilman as Lady Capulet, Chandler Matkins as Ralph, and Michael Miranda.
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is directed and choreographed by Jen Wineman, with musical direction by Sandy Dacus, set design by Ron Keller, lighting design by BJ Wilkinson, sound design by Derek Dumais, and costume design by Aaron P. Mastin.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Susan Haubenstock, Richmond Times-Dispatch: But the production itself is impressive, starting with Ron Keller's stunning Tudor set, which rotates to provide many locations - a theater, a tavern, the de Lesseps home. In one breathtaking scene, Wineman moves the action impressively around and through the set as it spins. Aaron Mastin's gorgeous costumes - especially Queen Elizabeth's gown - and BJ Wilkinson's flawless lighting contribute much to the lush re-creation of the period. And there is beautiful incidental music under Sandy Dacus' expert direction, with wonderful vocals from the multitalented cast.
David Timberline, Style Weekly: In the stage adaptation currently running at Virginia Repertory Theatre, that story gets a satisfying restoration in an elegantly staged production, full of humor alternately broad and pithy with fine performances by both leading and supporting players. Sure, it takes a while for the momentum to kick in and there is at least one major misstep, but the preponderance of winning scenes ultimately makes the show impossible to resist... Of course, every love story eventually boils down to the lovers at the story's heart, and Carter and Struxness have a playful frisson animating their rambunctious courtship. Carter's Will is a rogue but a kind-hearted one. As Viola, Struxness embodies intelligence, determination and passion.
Jeremy Bustin, BroadwayWorld: Ron Keller's two-story, rotating set is a spectacle and covers almost the entire stage. In fact, some of the design spills out into the house of the November Theatre. Carpenters Matt Lehtola, David Monroy and Damon Pelletier deserve special accolades for the intricate detail on display. BJ Wilkinson's lighting is very effective and highlights Aaron Mastin's stunning costumes. As Will Shakespeare, BranDon Carter is very likeable and gives a spirited and balanced performance. Betsy Struxness shines as Viola de Lesseps. Her scenes as Thomas Kent are hilarious. The chemistry between the pair is authentic.