Author: Russell Warne

It’s a tragedy to miss ROMEO AND JULIET in fair Cedar City

CEDAR CITY — The Utah Shakespeare Festival has decided again to visit fair Verona and stage Romeo and Juliet this year in an insightful, well acted, and gratifying production that serves as a worthy companion to the Festivla’s current production of Shakespeare in Love. Rather than have the title characters careen inescapably towards doom (as in an ancient Greek tragedy), Director J. R. Sullivan makes each character an autonomous agent in the story. The result is a Romeo and Juliet that is a parade of “if only” scenarios. If only Mercutio had controlled his temper… If only Romeo and listened to the counsel...

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Dead men tell no tales, but TREASURE ISLAND is still a classic

CEDAR CITY — “There is no honor among thieves,” according to the old saying. This is certainly true of the pirates of Treasure Island, most of whom succumb to an early death as a consequence of greed, treachery, and betrayal. This classic story of high adventure is on stage now at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in an energetic swashbuckling production. Treasure Island is an adaptation by Mary Zimmerman of Robert Louis Stevenson‘s classic novel of the same name. The story recounts the adventures of Jim Hawkins, a young boy whose life is changed when a mysterious stranger named Billy...

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Too slow and uneven for this show to be AS YOU LIKE IT

CEDAR CITY — Often in Shakespeare‘s plays, people leave their home to attempt to escape their problems. As You Like It turns this idea on its head by forcing its characters into exile and having the dysfunction of human society recreated in the forest. Likewise, the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s initiative to produce every Shakespeare play makes As You Like It is part of the 2017 season, but despite the cast and crew’s attempts to create an light, frothy evening of theatre, they can’t escape from the unevenness of the script. As You Like It tells the story of young Orlando...

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SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is “a very palpable hit”

CEDAR CITY — Shakespeare in Love is a love letter to William Shakespeare. Packed with references to several works of the Shakespeare canon (including Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Macbeth, Titus Andronicus, the Henry VI tetralogy, Julius Caesar, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, and the sonnets), Shakespeare aficionados will find plenty of goodies in this show. Yet, it is not necessary to be an armchair literary scholar to enjoy Shakespeare in Love. Almost anyone with a passing interest in Shakespeare’s work can enjoy this backstage comedy. Adapted by Lee Hall from the screenplay by Marc Norman and...

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Slumber not at A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM in Cedar City

CEDAR CITY — With A Midsummer Night’s Dream being the most popular non-musical play in Utah, the challenge for any local company is to strike a careful balance. If a production is too avant-garde, the audience feels alienated; make the show too familiar, and it feels staid and pointless. Impressively, the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the perfect mix of innovation and convention with broad appeal for neophytes and Shakespeare veterans. One way in which director Kirsten Brandt created a new Midsummer was by injecting a touch of sensuality into the production, such as when Oberton...

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