Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Get the Lead Man a Therapist!

The Boston Herald has one of the most cliche-ridden and laugh out loud reviews I have seen in a long time. Reviewing Shakespeare and Company's Hamlet, the Herald's Vicki Sanders informs us, in true pull- quotable fashion, that:

"Director Eleanor Holdridge aims her cast straight for the play’s emotional jugular, provoking scenes of unusual poignancy."

She also gives the audience a clue to the success of the production:

"This Hamlet feels modern not only because of the production’s
contemporary look but also because the people in it are undeniably real."

I assure you Ms. Sanders that this is only because Shakespeare & Company has perfected actor-cyborg technology. Have you ever wondered why only half the students return from their Shakespeare Summer Intensives? (Cue Stepford Wives music.)

However, my favorite line has to be the following, which addresses the powerfully felt performance of the Jason Asprey, son of Artistic Director Tina Packer, in the role of Hamlet:

"It’s clear that Asprey doesn’t see Hamlet as iconic. Rather, he’s a young man like himself, trying to come to terms with a mother who married his father’s murderer, a girlfriend he’s not mature enough to handle, a stepfather he doesn’t trust and emotions he cannot control."


I didn't know Asprey had such a turgid personal circumstance, but fortunate for him to be able to draw on it. Perhaps the Attorney General should dispatch an investigator to Lenox. Tina Packer and her husband probably have some questions to answer.

How is it possible that a good review could almost make me not want to see the show? I guess I will take this as a rave, and assume that the production was so good that it emptied this particular reviewer of their cricitical and communicative faculties.

Compare this to Louise Kennedy, of the Globe who is doing a great job on the summer season. She displays wit, style, a sharp eye and makes some good observations. Not doing shabby at all for limited space reviewing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've liked what I've seen of Louise Kennedy's reviewing so far. Here's to hoping that she'll continue to write insightful stuff. The Herald really isn't the place one wants to go for arts coverage of course...

What I really long for is an informed press writing about the theatre. Wouldn't it be great if all of the papers in Boston were just buzzing with writing about the arts? Of course, I suppose that's where the Internet is supposed to come in- the rise of the Theatre Blogosphere.

-AA