“Not only is it the best production of The Merchant of Venice I’ve seen at the festival, it is one of a dozen of the best Shakespearean productions I’ve had the privilege of experiencing in 29 seasons. It is as near perfect as a Shakespearean production can get.”
Ouzounian argues the production “is not an easy play to produce or even to attend”, however “Cimolino has the intelligence and honesty to largely play it as it lays. Virtually everyone in the show…harbours hatred for someone and doesn’t hesitate to express it.”
Morrow found Giroux is “like the glamorous, witty patrician in a Philip Barry play. And when playing the doctor of laws, her angular features and smoky voice make her a credible young man.” He notes Wentworth “tries to painstakingly erase every trace of a despised stereotype” in his performance.
“Cimolino’s careful direction results in some very poignant moments…The production reaches its comic peak with Antoine Yared’s turn as the Prince of Arragon if it were a YouTube video it would have gone viral…It’s the drama in this production that is most memorable.”
Dale feels Goad “is simply magnificent as the loathsome Gratiano”, Farb “winningly played” Jessica and Wentworth “produces a rich performance worth watching over and over again.” He gives kudos to Cimolino’s “clever” choice to place the play in “pre-war fascist Italy”.
Munro regards the comedy, design and direction of “The Merchant of Venice”. However, he believes Crews and Farb’s performances “fall flat most of the time”. The critic concludes “this play is best left on the page where it can be appropriately studied as an outdated product of its time.”
“As an actor Mr. Goad can turn on a dime from playing charming to vicious, so he is a perfect choice to play Gratiano in this production…Never has there been a more empathetic Portia than Michelle Giroux.” Godfrey concludes “The Merchant of Venice” “deserves to travel to Broadway”.
Donnelly calls “The Merchant of Venice” “one of the three must-sees” this season, but found “The Thrill” “is a letdown.” He believes “Waiting for Godot” is “ideally cast” and “Taking Shakespeare” matches well with “Othello”.
Garner states “Othello” is “extremely well-played”, “Taking Shakespeare” “fabulous” and compares “Waiting for Godot” to “a great modern painting by Picasso or Pollock”. He thought “Fiddler on the Roof” was “easily the best” he’s seen and “The Merchant of Venice” was “very good”.