Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CYMBELINE at the Fiasco Theater

2nd NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


It takes a clever theater company to turn an overstuffed, normally tragic Shakespearean romance into a lively comedy. Fiasco Theater has achieved just that, a genuinely lighthearted playfulness with their bright, streamlined production of William Shakespeare's "Cymbeline."

Their tongue-in-cheek treatment of the play, which is normally handled more as a tragedy with comical moments, is in a very limited run off-Broadway, presented by Theatre for a New Audience at the New Victory Theater.

The basic plot concerns a pair of star-crossed young lovers, played by a spirited Jessie Austrian as Princess Imogen, with Noah Brody stalwart yet gullible as Posthumus, her soon-banished new husband.

By secretly marrying, the pair have defied the will of her father, King Cymbeline, played as a Falstaffian buffoon by Andy Grotelueschen, who also portrays the king's preferred choice for Imogen's husband, his doltish stepson, Cloten.

There's a wicked stepmother-Queen, played with elfin malice by Emily Young, and a loyal servant, Pisanio, given an air of earnest good will by Paul L. Coffey. Ben Steinfeld is gleefully scheming as villainous Iachimo, who dupes Posthumus into doubting Imogen's loyalty.

Through Jan. 30

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