THE WORLD GOES ROUND AND ROUND AND ROUND IN SHAKESPEARE’S ROMANTIC COMEDY
CATCH SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK’S FINAL SUMMER SHOW BEFORE IT CLOSES
One sexy naughty silly outrageously funny romp Cymbeline plays through August 23 at The Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. This wiity, whimsical romantic comedy poses a question that’s actually a statement, “Does the World Go Round?” Yes it does. Not only in the sense of travel as the action moves from Italy to Wales, from peace to war to peace again and most vitally, from love to heartbreak to love again. Every moment then of this Summer’s Shakespeare in the Park performance of Cymbeline is a wild ride ‘round a topsy turvy world that only Shakespeare could imagine.
Lily Rabe a shining star always, brings to Imogen, probably Shakespeare’s purest heroine, defiance and integrity mixed with vulnerability. Raul Esparza as a bad bad boy who enters to mad applause oozing sleazy merriment and Rat Pack style, tossing back a drink with the elan of Dean Martin, dealing devilishly until he develops a conscience. Kate Burton gives Stepmothers a bad name scheming and plotting encouraging idiocy – the hot pursuit of the chaste Imogen by her moronic son (Hamish Linklater who plays both Imogen’s unwanted suitor and much desired banished husband). Before he meets his untimely end, this misbegotten boy awakens Imogen at dawn with appalling rhymes – Hark Hark The Lark – his ridiculous attempt at a daybreak serenade. Just one of the terrific tunes created for one of Shakespeare’s most broadly comic plays. The warm Summer air and the magic of Belevedere Castle in the background add a fairytale nature to this immensely enjoyable, beautifully designed presentation that’s staged with snap, crackle, pop by Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan (King Lear, The Comedy of Errors, Proof). Indeed the characters step out of a golden frame on stage as if to say they are a magical illusion. Lots of lewd jokes of course and serious conflicts – kingdoms at stake as well as a maiden’s honor – after all even a comedy needs suspense, make Cymbeline a roller coaster prompting screams of shock and coos of delight. Oh and there’s a timely cross dressing theme as well which brings modern relevance to this centuries-old tale.
Celebrating its 53rd year in the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park has been a New York City staple of outdoor performances since Joseph Papp first conceived of the festival in 1954. Each summer, the Public Theater produces two plays for Shakespeare in the Park, often casting some of the biggest names in theater and film to play lead roles in the productions. The tradition continues this year with Cymbeline, starring Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine, The Crazy Ones) and Lily Rabe (American Horror Story).
Get your tickets now for performances through August 23 only http://publictheater.org/en/
Shakespeare in The Park CYMBELINE photos by Carol Rosegg