Keeping My Promise

I owe you all reviews of all the shows we saw on our last trip up to Stratford. For now, a short re-review of a show we saw back at the start of the season, and saw again with our six-year-old son: Romeo and Juliet.

My original review is here. In that review, I mentioned my concerns about Nikki James’ ability to hold the Festival Stage, vocally and physically. Lay such concerns to rest! She was so much stronger in August than she was at the end of May that it’s like the difference between Juliet and Rosaline. And the whole play is transformed as well.

And she’s not the only performer who has improved dramatically. I was somewhat ambivalent about Evan Buliung’s Mercutio on opening, calling him sarcastic and not especially likeable. Now he’s the force of nature that Mercutio ought to be – and much funnier, without losing any of his bite.

And what did my son think?

Well, he won’t stop biting his thumb at me, for one thing.

I’m just glad he didn’t understand any of Mercutio’s jokes.

Finally, I’m pleased to note that the American press is starting to acknowledge the existence of the most significant classical repertory in this hemisphere. That’s what Des McAnuff, Christopher Plummer and Brian Dennehy will do for a festival, I guess. In any event, here is a review of several of the season’s offerings from Charles Isherwood at The New York Times, and here is a review from John Simon at Bloomberg. Both reviews devote the bulk of their attention to Plummer’s turn as Julius Caesar in Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra, which we saw the opening of as well. I’ll hopefully get my review of that play, and everything else we saw in August, out by the end of the week.