Measure for Measure

Noting should go wrong when you bring together a cast that includes Tom McCamus, Lucy Peacock, Brent Carver, Patrick Galligan, Steven Sutcliffe and Michelle Giroux, and then add in Roy Lewis, Karen Robinson, Charlie Gallant, Serena Parmar and Mark Crawford with George Meany to provide the music. And nothing did go wrong. It was hard to believe that we were at the first preview, it was so polished. But when you get a group of experienced professional like this, you get a professional result.

The only odd thing about the production was having the audience sit on the stage looking out to where the audience normally sits. But after the first moments of feeling unbalanced, the result was a great intimacy. Even in the third row, you felt could almost touch the cast members.

Lucy Peacock was so believable as the Duchess, it was easy to forget the role had been written for a Duke. Tom McCamus was brilliantly sleazy as Lord Angelo, sliding quickly from upright man to harasser and blackmailer. Michele Giroux was especially   memorable when she asked the perennial question “Who will believe me?”, particularly relevant in these days of Trump and Ghomeshi.

It was a delight to see Brent Carver as Lucio and Steven Sutcliffe as Pompey. Mark Crawford is someone I have not seen before, but I will look for him in future after seeing his as Elbow and Barnardine. Generally, I have not thought of Measure for Measure as a comedy, but these three actors definitely bought the comedy forward.

There were no weak links and the overall result was a great production of a rarely performed Shakespeare play. Graham Abbey deserves congratulations for bringing his vision to life.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
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One Response to Measure for Measure

  1. keithhpotter says:

    I find this a rather difficult play and I was disappointed by the Stratford version – Tom Rooney was my “Dream Team” Angelo, but it just didn’t work, neither his Angelo nor the production as a whole, which was full of irrelevant cute bits. I don’t think Martha Henry was comfortable with the play, or else she would have done something as wonderful as she did with “All My Sons”.

    This was much better. Tom McCamus nailed the Angelo I’d looked for from Rooney and the overall production. I have no idea how you’d play Isabella – virtuous and religious virgin who creates lust in the cold-fish Angelo – Michele Giroux got the virgin, but the reason for the lust is hard to combine with that. I don’t think she quite got it, but I have no idea what, or who to suggest for the role. The Lucio subplot seems a poor fit. It might make sense if Lucio is intended to play to Groundlings, like Caliban in the Tempest. Brent Carver was delightfully sleazy in the role.

    The setting is weird, though. It is very intimate, with most of the audience sharing the stage with the actors, but you have the large audience space of the Wintergarden rearing up behind the action. If they could not find a more appropriately-sized venue, I wish they had dropped the curtain and had everything enclosed on the stage.

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