Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Fiasco Theater at Folger Theatre

Also see Susan's coverage of the Helen Hayes Awards and reviews of of Henry V, Part 1 and Part 2


Zachary Fine and Noah Brody
The Two Gentlemen of Verona has never been considered one of William Shakespeare's better plays, with its duplicitous heroes whose brotherly affection for each other interferes with their various romances. The Fiasco Theater of New York City, currently performing at Washington's Folger Theatre, has staged a mildly entertaining version of the play that manages to smooth the rough edges of the plot through the efforts of six energetic and flexible (physically and otherwise) actors.

In more-or-less modern dress designed by Whitney Locher, Valentine (Zachary Fine) and Proteus (Noah Brody) wear almost identical vests and slacks. Valentine leaves Verona to serve the Duke of Milan (Andy Grotelueschen) and falls in love with the Duke's daughter Sylvia (Emily Young). Proteus proclaims his undying love to Julia (Jessie Austrian), then follows Valentine to Milan and forgets about Julia when he meets Sylvia.

Fiasco's streamlined performance, which runs only about two hours with an intermission, enlists cast members to appear in more than one role. Thus, when Grotelueschen is not playing the pompous Duke, he's Launce, Proteus' servant whose emotional life is tied up with his dog Crab (Fine again, endearing with a black button nose and large, winsome eyes). Similarly, Young is Julia's outspoken confidant Lucetta as well as Sylvia, and Paul L. Coffey is both Speed, Valentine's dimwitted servant, and Thurio, the Duke's chosen suitor for his daughter. To complicate matters even more, they all play musical instruments—but they are very good at what they do.

The co-directors, Brody and Ben Steinfeld, allow the cast to romp on an open stage designed by James Kronzer, after the original by Jean-Guy Lecat.

Folger Theatre
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
April 17th —May 25th
By William Shakespeare
Julia: Jessie Austrian
Proteus: Noah Brody
Speed/Thurio: Paul L. Coffey
Valentine: Zachary Fine
Launce/Duke: Andy Grotelueschen
Lucetta/Sylvia: Emily Young
Co-directed by Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld
Folger Shakespeare Library
201 E. Capitol St., S.E.
Washington, DC 20003
Ticket Information: 202-544-7077 or www.folger.edu/theatre


Photo: Teresa Wood.


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