BWW Review: PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE at Southwest Shakespeare Company
BWW Review: Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Tragedy and comedy do not typically meld in perfect harmony, but Shakespeare never fails to find the right balance. Pericles is no stranger to misfortune, especially when a boat is involved, but his misfortunes and heart break allow him to savor the sweetness of redemption.
Music plays an imperative role throughout the play. The pounding of the drums, the jaunty ukulele, and the wonderful singing voices lead the audience through the tragedy. The music brings the story full circle when Marina sings the familiar tune to Pericles. The play is well-directed and fun to watch, especially the fight scene between the knights vying for the heart of Thaisa. There are modern elements thrown in to keep the audience engaged when the Shakespearian language is in full swing. The actors expertly use physicality to project the meaning behind the words to help the audience understand what is happening.
As Gower, the narrator, Keath Hall is entertaining and charismatic. His energy and booming voice provide the perfect environment for the story. He also inhabits the role of King Simonides who allows Pericles to marry his daughter. Hall has fantastic comedic timing and keeps the story moving effortlessly.
The title character is played by Joshua Murphy. Murphy perfectly showcases hope, love, fear, strength, depression, despondence, and every other emotion a husband and father can feel. He is well-suited for this role and the audience cannot help but cheer for him.
Thaisa, played by Kim Stephenson Smith, and Marina, played by Melissa Toomey, bring beauty and grace to the proceedings. Both actresses have a gentle presence and it is easy for the audience to believe that they are loved by all who meet them.
The supporting cast is magnificent and worthy of all the praise that can be afforded them. Each actor plays several roles, plays instruments, sings, fights, and handles the material with precision. The show is tragic, but it is also fun. The director, Quinn Mattfeld, has made excellent use of the space and the minimal set to create a sense of wonder. Each scene takes the audience to a new land with a new set of problems. Although the tragedies nearly consume Pericles, the resolution and the restoration bring hope to even the hardest heart.
Pericles, the Prince of Tyre runs through November 10, 2018 at the Mesa Arts Center. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will be grateful for the reminder that there is hope even in the darkest times: "In that hope, I live".
Photo provided courtesy of Southwest Shakespeare Company