Cymbeline Review at the New York Post
‘Are there more plots to unravel?” complains the title character of Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline,” and he might as well be speaking for the audience.
Luckily, the Fiasco Theater’s charming new production makes crystal-clear the endlessly convoluted plot developments of the Bard’s late-period romance.
What George Bernard Shaw called “stagey trash of the lowest melodramatic order” is highly entertaining nonetheless, especially performed as it is here, under the auspices of Theater for a New Audience, which gave us last season’s hit “Othello.”
When Imogen, the daughter of Britain’s King Cymbeline, secretly marries her lover Posthumus — a commoner! — he’s banished from the kingdom, setting off a complicated chain of events involving cruel deceptions, a conniving queen, an attempted seduction and a headless body. Being Shakespeare, there’s cross-dressing, too.
The simple set by longtime Peter Brook collaborator Jean-Guy Lecat features little more than a steamer trunk and wooden containers. But directors Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld — who act in this, as well — do clever things with them, including a magician-style beheading that drew cheers from the audience.
The youthful performers, all of whom play multiple roles except for Jessie Austrian’s highly appealing Imogen, have an easy facility with the language and a winning playfulness. From their harmonized preshow announcement to the musical interludes — everything from madrigals to bluegrass — they bring a Mickey and Judy-style “let’s put on a show” vibe.