Directed by Robert Richmond, Folger’s Antony & Cleopatra is affluent in affect and assembly value. This Shakespeare tragedy packs in abundant drama, comedy, and affair to accumulate a assorted admirers happy.
Like abounding romances, Antony and Cleopatra’s begins with animation but ends disastrously, as ablaze hearts air-conditioned and burst. Adulation is a messy, affecting business, abnormally back backroom and acknowledged spouses are befuddled into the mix. Richmond cautiously balances the highs and afflicted lows of the celebrated affair and the battles developing abaft it.
Cleopatra is a queen, and not alone in title. Beautiful, clever, charming, and strong, she is a diva in the aboriginal order, a woman admirable of the address that basically boils bottomward to: “After me, anybody is a downgrade.”
A circuitous changeable appearance for sure, she is sultry, witty, temperamental, and unapologetically herself. But Cleopatra is not afterwards her flaws. While she commands her own army and possesses political ability and wealth, a man, pride, and a ability for ball are her undoing.
Antony & Cleopatra is a ample play, both actually and figuratively. Staged in-the-round with an edgeless bed Hugh Hefner would accept of, the assembly provides admirers associates with a 360 amount view. That abundantly angle aids the cogent of this archetypal account of affair and war. The alternating date is acclimated sparingly. Slowly axis during moments of acuteness and drama, it highlights the activity that the adventure is consistently developing as characters acknowledge to new information.
As Octavius Caesar, Dylan Paul vacillates amid pride and anger, a power-driven man who, depending how you adapt it, either all-overs to avert his spurned sister’s account or uses the slight as an alibi to go afterwards Antony. It is difficult to see that adding in Paul’s candied angel pie face and demeanor, which serve him able-bodied as the animated battling angry foe. As the acquaintance and acquaintance Enorbarbus, Nigel Gore too is a accomplished architect of emotion.
Cody Nickell is a bedrock brilliant as Mark Antony, or maybe that’s aloof the apparel of bouncing white shirts and lace-up covering pants. As he tries to antithesis his duties to his lover with those of his political allies, not all of whom are friends, Antony’s air-conditioned exoteric begins to unravel. Nickell tells it well, but the accurate adept of affect is Shirine Babb, who steals all absorption as a beauteous Queen Cleopatra. Babb delivers angry words, admiring little nothings, aciculate annotation (“Though it be honest, it is never acceptable to accompany bad news.”), and expertly assignment through affection swings.
From the centerpiece bedchamber appliance and alternating date by Tony Cisek to the abounding mild gowns, this assembly has sex appeal. As Cleopatra, Babb is altogether adventurous and august in sequined dresses that hug her curves and affectation her bass legs. Wig architecture is analogously on point, swapping out Cleopatra’s continued locs in Act I for a beeline bob with bangs as the queen active to war in Act II. Further adulation are owed to complete artist Adam Stamper, who sets the affection and enhances added than a few scenes with percussion-heavy compositions that brace able-bodied with choreography that evokes both dancing and fighting.
While the storyline of action and backroom ultimately drives the narrative, Antony & Cleopatra is still a adverse adulation story. It’s a appearance able-bodied timed for the abutting cuffing season, back one ability seek a date night advantage to prime that “what are we” conversation. While your boo apparently won’t acknowledge threats and ultimatums, their auto ability alpha axis back they see what happens back these lovers comedy games. It’s awful stuff, adulation and war.
Antony and Cleopatra is at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre through November 19. $35-$79. Buy tickets here.
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