Sunday, September 17, 2006

Richard II: 09/17/2006

Richard II isn’t Shakespeare’s best play. It’s basically the story of Henry IV’s power-grab from Richard. But even minor Shakespeare has a lot to offer. Brian Kulick’s production at CSC has a lot to offer as well, but like the play – it isn’t great. The major problem with the production is with so many of the performances – they are for the most part just vocally flat and uninteresting; the exceptions being David Greenspan (as Bagot, Bishop of Carlisle and a few other supporting parts), Doan Ly (as Queen Isabel) for the most part Jesse Pennington (as Aumerle) and Michael Cumpsty (in the title role). The remainder of the cast speak their lines in a dulling monotone that make the two and a half hours at times seem much, much longer. The physical production is excellent and Kulick’s staging mostly very good. The bigger problem I think is for Classic Stage Company, of which Kulick is the Artistic Director. With only two main-stage productions this season (the third is an Aquila Theatre production), they can't afford a mediocre production. I’d much rather see them spread the money over more, less glamorous productions – rather than two “Broadway-lite” productions. I wonder how much longer they can exist with this approach?

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