Long Wharf’s “Measure” Is No Fiasco
Review New Haven Independent
Donald Brown | December 10, 2015
The Fiasco Theater’s production of Measure for Measure, directed by company members Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld at the Long Wharf Theatre and running until Dec. 20, makes the Bard’s darkest comedy more viewer-friendly. First of all, the characters to keep track of has been shrunk from 21 to a much more manageable 11 (or 12 if you count the unseen Barnardine, a prisoner), and played by a cast of 6. And that means everyone but Andy Grotelueschen as the Duke — who disguises himself for most of the play as a friar — plays two roles.
Much of the fun starts right there.
Long Wharf’s ‘Measure’ Leaves ’em Laughing
Review in Hartford Courant
Christopher Arnott | December 3, 2015
“It’s rare enough that the Long Wharf Theatre would do a
Shakespeare play — in the theater’s 51-year history, it has staged only 11 of them.
It’s rarer still that the Long Wharf would give over its main stage to an existing production by an outside company, something it hasn’t done in at least seven years.
What makes the Fiasco Theatre’s reshaping of “Measure for Measure” so right for the Long Wharf right now?
Topicality, for one thing. “Measure for Measure” abounds with abuses of power, rampant corruption and outrageous lies. The script, which dates back to 1603 or so, is ideal for the run-up to a presidential election. The liner notes in the Long Wharf program list a half dozen real-life present-day politicians who measure up to the scoundrels that populate the play.”
Mating-Season Mood Swings in ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’
Review in The New York Times
Ben Brantley | April 30,2015
“For those of you who had been wondering if spring had decided to skip New York this year, there has been a confirmed sighting of that elusive season at Theater for a New Audience’s Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn. Fresh sap, tickling breezes, blushing blooms — yep, they’re all in evidence. So is the tendency of emerging specimens of human fauna to seize the day as if it were made exclusively for mating.”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Review in Time Out New York
Adam Feldman | April 30,2015
“In Derek McLane’s set for Fiasco Theater’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, crumpled pieces of paper are shaped to suggest a grove of flowers bursting into bloom. That is exactly the spirit of this endearing production. In the show’s unusually thoughtful and well-considered program notes, codirectors Jessie Austrian and Ben Steinfeld observe that the play may seem like “a first draft.” And indeed, Two Gents—one of the Bard’s earliest, briefest and least esteemed works—is usually best appreciated, if it is appreciated at all, as a collection of seedlings for devices (a cross-dressed heroine, a flight to the forest, a misused ring) that would come to fruit in subsequent efforts. But Fiasco’s winsome, swift and immensely appealing account dances lightly over the play’s pitfalls.”
Fiasco Theater troupe brings enchanting ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ to Polonsky Shakespeare Center
Review in Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Laura Croghan | May 1, 2015
“I’m in love with a dog named Crab.
You’ll fall for him, too. Just you wait and see.
His master says Crab is “the sourest-natured dog that lives,” but don’t you believe it.
The hapless canine is a hilarious scene-stealer — and one of Shakespeare’s funniest clowns — when played by the right actor.
That would be Zachary Fine, who slips a shiny black ball over his nose, gets a goofy-puppy look in his eyes and voilà — the audience at “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” is laughing again.”
Familiar Forest, Made New
Review in New York Times
Ben Brantley | May 14, 2013
“Into the Woods,” the 1987 reworking of classic fairy tales by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, is now appearing in the unblushing altogether at the McCarter Theater on the campus of Princeton University. And though this show has usually inspired warm but mixed feelings in me whenever I’ve encountered it, this time I fell head over heels.”
In Decadent Vienna, Constancy Is Shown the Doors
Review in New York Times
Ben Brantley | March 2, 2014
“So many doors, each opening on to what God only knows. What do think is behind, say, this one, with the grill? A treat or a trick? A lady or a tiger? Mercy or mortality?
That last coupling of opposites comes from Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” a strange play of hard choices that has been given a most charming new production at the New Victory Theater, in which the scenery consists of little more than six portable doors. That’s right, I said charming. And, yes, I know that’s an adjective not normally found anywhere near “Measure for Measure,” one of the creepiest plays in the cannon.”
Simply Shakespeare, No Tangled Web
Review in New York Times
Ben Brantley | January 17, 2011
“Credibly portraying incredible feats of derring-do; bringing elaborate battle scenes to life in ways in which you can tell who’s on what side and who’s winning; organically blending music into the action and fluidly evoking shifts of time and scene: with a cast of exactly six …”
Six Actors No Longer in Search of a Play
Feature story in New York Times
Alexis Soloski | August 31, 2011
“Fiasco’s success is, like “Cymbeline,” something of a fairy tale. Sitting in a sunlit Times Square rehearsal space where the company was readying the show for its new engagement, Ben Steinfeld, a company member, said: “Our story is preposterous. It’s hard to believe.” Yet it is true.”
Cymbeline Revitalizes Shakespeare’s Much-Mocked Epic
Review in New York Magazine
Scott Brown | January 21, 2011
“In just two and half hours, Fiasco (produced at the New Victory by Theater for a New Audience) reminds us what theater, at its simplest and most powerful, is really for: the alchemical thrill of watching an entire world conjured into being out of sheer wit and will.”