“The Greek team that created this production – director Thomas Moschopoulos, designer Ellie Papageorgakopoulou, composer Kornilios Selamsis and choreographer Amalia Bennett – working with Canadian lighting designer Itai Erdal, give a contemporary look to the show.”
Isherwood praises the Festival’s Shakespeare productions: “Henry V“: one of the finest Shakespeare productions from Mr. McAnuff. “Cymbeline“: a madcap mash-up of Shakespearean elements. “Much Ado About Nothing“: A sustained sense of boisterous humor pervades Mr. Newton’s production.
“It was originally listed among the tragedies, perhaps because most scenes involve characters planning to kill each other or mourning the death of someone. But it’s now classified as a comedy. It has jokes, though the humour is enacted within a dark, always tumultuous world. It ends happily for almost everyone concerned.”
Gerard, the chief U.S. drama critic for Bloomberg News, writes about several Stratford productions in this critical round up. He likes Henry V, Cymbeline, Pirates and Hirsch. He’s less fond of 42nd St. and dismisses Wanderlust as “a total misfire.” Read more about Wanderlust’s mixed reviews HERE
Millman’s concludes with reflections on how “many reviewers have looked to this production for signs of what [incoming Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino’s] tenure will be about.” Indeed the critics are discussing what Cimilino’s tenure will bring. This critic ups the ante at a table where everyone’s seeking a full house.
“The opportunity to see Cymbeline does not present itself often, and this is a must-see production…The show also benefits from some original music composed by singer/songwriter Steven Page and stunning fight sequences, artfully choreographed and performed.”
Donnelly notes the impressive production bodes well for the future of the Festival under Cimolino’s leadership. “Intelligently staged, powerfully acted, essential theatre. The last time I saw a Cymbeline of this calibre was in 1986, when the Robin Phillips World War II version played the Festival Stage.”
“writes about how Cimolino uses each production element to create a drama whose sum is much greater than its parts. On the acting she notes “There is both comedy and tragedy in their arsenals and deep knowledge of Shakespeare in their memories.”
Slotkin, formerly a regular on CBC radio, covers Much Ado About Nothing and Cymbeline. On Much Ado Slotkin notes “Christopher Newton’s production to be dull, often unfunny, clumsily directed, with lots of subtext getting away from him or ignored.”
The review covers Cymbeline, Much Ado About Nothing and The Matchmaker, opening with strong praise: “It’s not often that a Stratford Festival opening week hits the bull’s eye as decisively as it has with the three plays that have launched its 60th season.”
“Mr. Cimolino has a formula for how things get done on Stratford’s stages. It is a near perfect example of classic Stratford Shakespeare Festival – an excellent cast in the hands of a good director who understands how to use the unique space of the Tom Patterson Theatre.”
“This is…a hugely impressive ensemble, [with] the likes of Peter Hutt, Nigel Bennett, Ian Clark, Andrew Gillies, Brian Tree and a host of others – and from the very top of the show, Cimolino makes the most of its talents, shaping performances that showcase the best of each actor’s individual skills, while still serving the complex demands of text and story.”
“Antoni Cimolino, incoming artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, has taken on the challenge and staged a clear and coherent, if somewhat exhausting production on the catwalk stage of the Tom Patterson Theatre.”
Reaney’s glowing review, as usual, includes footnotes about the productions connections to London Ontario.
In thsi case it includes film director Atom Egoyan and the reason a job with Labatt’s led Tom McCamus’s family to move to London in 1965.
“Cimolino interprets the play as a romantic fantasy, equal parts dream and nightmare, by exploiting its elements of fairytale, folktale and mythology…[he] has assembled the kind of super ensemble that defines Stratford at its best…With only three Shakespeare plays gracing Stratford stages…it’s reassuring to acknowledge that Cymbeline does the festival’s namesake proud.”
Cudworth raves: “The Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s production of Cymbeline will be remembered not only as one of the best this season but in all likelihood one of the best in the theatre’s history…As Iachimo Tom McCamus will make your skin crawl as he lurks about Innogen’s bed chamber.”
Ouzounian raves about Cimolino`s willingness to trust his cast, “a trust which is paid off a hundredfold“ adding that the final scene, with Graham Abbey, is “one of the most moving moments on a Stratford stage in recent years.“ Performances of note include Geraint Wyn Davies, Cara Ricketts, Nigel Bennett…