Three Stars for Martha Henry’s noir-inspired production that Nestuck writes “has at its centre a duke, played with sublimely oblivious egotism by Geraint Wyn Davies…Her cast is exceptional down through the smaller characters – I particularly liked Stephen Russell’s kind and conflicted Provost”
Millman considers Stratford’s “Measure for Measure” as “a puzzle, and Duke Vincentio is at the heart of that puzzle…Director Martha Henry’s approach to the puzzle is to refuse to solve it – to embrace the ambiguities of the character and of the play, and say, in effect: he is those ambiguities, and that is precisely what makes him fascinating.”
Ouzounian notes that director Martha Henry is “helping the cast to deliver rich and varied performances”, but notes she “doesn’t keep a firm hand on the tiller when it comes to pacing or letting us see just where she wants it to be going.” He praises Ouimette, Hughson, Tree and Grant’s performances.
“It’s impossible to read of the large appetites of Senator Mike Duffy and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and not be reminded of Shakespeare’s penetrating examination of vice and virtue as characters betray their self-professed moral standards…[the script] peels back the rancid layers of excess, corruption and licentiousness”
While Coulbourn thought director Martha Henry “does a credible job of finding a through line and following it from beginning to end” and “manages to find certain lovely (if not always appropriate) notes of whimsy along the way, she fails to find a heart beating at the core of the story”.
Cushman gives kudos to [Tom] Rooney in “Measure for Measure” for “a magnificent, searching performance of a man obsessed with law and morality, and convinced that they’re the same thing”. He calls Stratford’s “Fiddler on the Roof” as a whole “the hero here”.
“…designer Pennoyer…deliberately recalls the Orson Welles film, The Third Man, with its world of dark deeds. Even the music in this interesting production takes The Third Man Theme as a jumping off point. Don’t be surprised when you hear snatches of Falling In Love Again, with appropriate Marlene Dietrich leer.”
Portman identified a ” distressing lack of chemistry” between Briere and Topham as “Romeo and Juliet”. He credited Grant’s performance in “Measure for Measure”, but found “Rooney convinces us neither of Angelo’s fanatical obsession with ‘fornication and uncleanliness’ nor of his uncontrollable lust for Isabella.”
Reviewing two plays, Slotkin suggests that Tyrone Savage, an up-and-comer in “Romeo and Juliet”, could have played Romeo. Slotkin gives kudos to the graduates of Stratford’s Birmingham Conservatory that Martha Henry cast in “Measure for Measure.” Henry is the Director of the Conservatory and responsible for the training.
Fischer finds common themes in the various productions he saw, including “Tommy”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Waiting For Godot” and a preview of “Taking Shakespeare”. He notes “Cimolino has succeeded, spectacularly — allowing plays written and set centuries apart to speak to each other and to us in new ways.”
Both critics agree “The performances really carried this production”, but “the play lacks energy. This isn’t a criticism of the actors, but the material”. Munro felt Wynn Davies “was more successful” as Friar Lodowick than Duke Vincentio. The pair have different opinions on the 1940s noir aesthetics.
Godfrey states Ouimette “could probably deliver his lines in Swahili and still communicate every nuance with crystal clarity. Taxed with providing most of the laughs of the play…Ouimette’s Lucio is the requisite smarmy yet surprisingly warm…more than a comic caricature and into a fully-rounded and appealing human being”
“His ploy revealed, his final decrees declared, the shocked and bewildered looks of the rest of the cast say it all: Duke Vincentio is a stark-raving lunatic…As the lights dim on Wyn Davies’s childlike grin and the rest of the cast’s looks of concern, suddenly the play makes sense. Bravo to Henry for finding a way out. However, the path from introduction to revelation is a long one, and may not be for everyone.”
Wyn Davies can add the character Duke Vincentio to his long list of virtuoso performances, writes O’Connor, adding that Martha Henry’s direction is compelling in its treatment of the play’s deep issues.
Citing the late Roger Ebert’s line “No movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad`,” Dale writes that Brian Tree’s supporting role brings comic genius to the complex ambiguities of Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure.
Hoile credits Grant’s articulation, but found her “expression of emotion remains exactly the same throughout despite the fact that the problems she faces only become more difficult.” He calls Ouimette the “chief comedian of the play”.
Karas notes director Martha Henry “displays a good grasp of the possibilities of the play and treats it with imagination and creativity.” He regards her “brilliant way of humanizing the straight-backed, stiff Provost shortly after he comes on stage.”
Simpson praised Wynn Davies as the Duke and his disguise as the friar, calling the actor “Stratford’s great chameleon”. However, he found director “Henry doesn’t allow the frippery of the comic interludes to overly brighten the play’s nasty tone,” with the “ominous post-World War II Vienna setting.”
Dorian regards “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Measure for Measure”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Tommy”. He praises Feore’s “inspired direction and choreography” in “Fiddler on the Roof” and the “successful ensemble effort” in “Measure for Measure”. Dorian calls Topham “a luminous Juliet” and states “Cilento’s choreography is thrilling”.