For several summers, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has offered shows of witty, classical fluff when most companies are on a seasonal break. This month Noel Coward's comedic ghost story 'Blithe Spirit' fills the bill nicely, featuring six CSC veteran performers as well as Annie Fitzpatrick, who provides a great dollop of loony frosting on a very tasty summer dessert.
Director Matt Johnson has set the battle of the sexes in a "mythical Hollywood studio" of the 1930s. What often goes wrong with adaptations is that they're not fully applied, but Johnson's update works flawlessly and completely, adding layers of humor for theatergoers who might not routinely warm to a play by Shakespeare.
To paraphrase Bill Clinton, "It depends on what your definition of 'well' is." Sure, 'All's Well That Ends Well' at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company ends up neatly with loose threads tidied away. But truest delights are the four strong women who, as in no other play by Shakespeare, dominate the action as played by Kelly Mengelkoch, Sherman Fracher, Amy Warner and Sara Clark.
William S. Gilbert's 1877 comedy is commonly assumed to be the inspiration for Oscar Wilde's later classic, 'The Importance of Being Earnest.' If you've ever laughed your way through that clever comedy, you should head downtown to Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for a fresh dose of hilarity.
When George Bernard Shaw's witty comedy 'Arms and the Man' debuted in 1894 in Dublin, it was a hit. Shaw described it as "one joke after another ... a firecracker." That's pretty much what you'll experience onstage at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, making its first foray into Shaw's prolific output. I hope we'll see more Shaw on Race Street, based on the success of this production.
This might be early, youthful Shakespeare, but it's still Shakespeare, which means it's about splendid language as much as farce. And here's the true marvel of this Cincinnati Shakepeare offering: For all its spaceships, flying nuns and gorillas (yes, there's a gorilla), the language smiles through, intact, respected and as sweet and thrilling as it should be.
This show is strong, nuanced and magical — a lovely whole crafted of lively parts. Example: Sherman Fracher digs deep to illuminate the shallow egocentricity and bitchiness of fading actress Irina, how fiercely she needs to be the epicenter of everything.
For his handsome, new, close-focused production of Hamlet at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC), Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips has distilled and intensified the drama’s stark internals, stripping away affairs of state, concentrating on family conflict and reducing the running time to about three hours (four is the norm).