Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
The Way of the World
Also see Susan's review of Citizen Josh
Cox and Innvar first demonstrated their chemistry two years ago in the Shakespeare Theatre production of another Restoration comedy, The Beaux' Stratagem. Here they strike sparks as Millamant, an heiress both self-possessed and beautiful, navigating among her many admirers and negotiating for personal autonomy within marriage, and Mirabell, the sincere suitor who needs to overcome numerous obstacles to win her.
Kahn has ably streamlined the ensuing complications, which mainly involve the fact that Millamant will lose half her inheritance if she marries without the consent of her aunt and guardian, Lady Wishfort (pronounced "wish-for-it"). Nancy Robinette gives another peerless comic performance as an outwardly censorious woman whose inner coquette keeps bursting out at inappropriate moments.
Jane Greenwood has used the many shades of green, symbol of both money and jealousy, as the basis of her extravagant costumes. The aspiring wit Anthony Witwoud (Floyd King) wears an outlandish ensemble in mint green with gold braid and a green sash shot with gold thread; the malicious Mrs. Marwood (Deanne Lorette) has a slash of dark red in the midst of her green gown; and Lady Wishfort attempts to charm a supposed suitor in an absurd heap of vividly colored swags and ruffles. Scenic designer Wilson Chin sets off the costumes by devising a neutral setting with neo-Classical elements, mostly off-white with touches of gold, and a park signified by stylized trees that resemble large green lollipops.
The entire cast shines in this production, both as individuals and as an ensemble. Highlights include the bickering between King as Witwoud and J. Fred Shiffman as Petulant, a Tweedledum and Tweedledee trying to follow the city's fashions; Doug Rees as Witwoud's rough-edged half brother, a bumpkin with muddy boots and no sense of tact; and Todd Scofield as a servant masquerading as a nobleman, plummy accent and all.
Shakespeare Theatre Company