On The Arts Fuse I review Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company's all-female outdoor production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale that closes on August 30:
While I do note that there are at points where the production is uneven (some of this reflects more on the difficulty in staging any of Shakespeare's "problem plays" than it does on the company), it has many aspects that make it worth seeing, including how director Sarah Gazdowicz makes use of the landscape of Somerville's Nathan Tufts Park:
Sarah Gazdowicz bridges the shift in genre by shifting the playing space during the intermission. The tragedy is staged at the peak of Nathan Tufts Park by the historic colonial-era Powder House that gives the neighboring square its name. The comedy transpires by the cyclopean-style masonry that separates the upper and lower parts of the park. The stone Powder House is a wonderful backdrop, but the steeply sloping foot path and the large stones that challenge the leg muscles of kids and adults make for a more inspired setting. Gazdowicz’s tableau work is far more intriguing in the latter two acts. Her actors are sometimes half-hidden in crevasses, perched on irregular ledges, or have to adapt their stance to the incline — particularly during the festivities that are part of the sheep sheering ceremony.
And I am particularly excited by Juliet Bowler's performance as the paranoid and later penitent King Leontes:
Juliet Bowler is a powerful Leontes. Her vocal precision heightens the paranoia of the King in his madness; his carefully constructed walls of words are impregnable to any voice of reason. But she also does a fine job of portraying Leontes’ grief when he finally realizes what he has done, as well as well as his inability to forgive himself, even in the end, when others have forgiven at least some of his sins.
Read the entire review on The Arts Fuse!