Measure For Measure is a Shakespearean comedy which explores issues such as sin vs. virtue, the love of God vs. the love of another, law vs. unlawful birth, and how power has the ability to corrupt.
Presented by: Sweet Thursday Productions & Theatre On A Horse, as part of the Melbourne Fringe FestivalVenue: Bella Union @ Trades Hall, Old Council Chambers, Melbourne, Victoria
Saturday 24 September, 2011
To fit any of Shakespeare’s plays into a mere 60 minutes is a feat in itself, and the people at Sweet Thursday Productions and Theatre On A Horse have attempted to jam Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure into such a timeslot. Measure For Measure is a Shakespearean comedy which explores the issues of sin and virtue, the love of God and the love of another, law and unlawful birth, and how power has the ability to corrupt.
The cast was generally strong and, in most cases, delivered the Shakespearean dialogue well. This certainly helped any uninitiated viewer (i.e. me) to follow the story. I did feel, however, that the first 15 minutes of the piece was heavily edited from the original text, and this made it a little difficult to understand the Duke’s motives for “becoming” a monk and why he would pass his role in office to Angelo. With some prior knowledge of M4M, this wouldn’t have been a problem, but to anyone who doesn’t know the piece, it was a little confusing.
Sean Mulcahy, as Duke Vincentio, is a delight to watch, with a flair for comic timing and paces his performance well. Phillip James Rouse, as Angelo, is charismatic and holds his part well for most of the play. It does seem that he lacks direction in the last 5 minutes, after his tryst has been revealed. Christina Woodford, as Isabella, is strong, but needed a more “light and shade” to her performance. Trelawney Edgar, on the other hand, switches from Mistress Overdone to Mariana and back with great skill, and you would almost be forgiven for mistaking them as two separate actors. I must also mention Jack Thomas Beeby, as Lucio, who brought life and spark to the stage whenever he was on it.
There are moments when the underscoring music is too loud, some lines are raced through, and some of the staging doesn’t quite work for the audience – the blocking restricts the audience’s view of the onstage action. However for the most part Measure For Measure was a well directed and presented performance. Worth a look.
Until 8th of October, 2011Booking Information03 9660 9666, melbournefringe.com.au