Review: ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’

Blog Image 899659 -
Griffin Stanton-Ameisen and Crab in 'Two Gentlemen of Verona'

By Jim Rutter

For THE INQUIRER

 

Friendship over love. Many boys spout this mantra, few endorse it in action. Shakespeare threaded this truth through the plot of Two Gentlemen of Verona, a young man’s play about impulsive young men. Director Samantha Bellomo and her sprightly cast at Delaware Shakespeare Festival prove their understanding in a Jazz Age production that excites in its excess of untempered passion balanced only by the laughter of youthful love’s folly.

In Two Gentlemen, “inseparable” best friends Valentine (Brandon Pierce) and Proteus (Adam Darrow) part ways when Valentine takes an apprenticeship in Milan. Proteus stays behind, sublimating his lost friendship in newfound love for Julia (an excellent, subtle performance by Clare Mahoney).

When Proteus’ dad sends him off to Milan, he finds Valentine embroiled in his own love affair with Silvia (Emilie Kraus), and in his jealousy, Proteus vows to have Silvia for himself, at any cost. 

Guess where this is going.

Del Shakes’ production captivates on many levels. Bellomo kicks it off with energetic Charleston-inspired choreography that bookends each act. Amanda Wolff bedecks the cast in slick suits and gorgeous gold flapper dresses. A young cast includes some of Philadelphia’s best (reluctantly) non-Equity talent, led in comedy by Max Cove (as the servant Speed) and in fiery temper by Pierce.

Krause’s love interest bubbles like a gin fizz that froths in witty retorts, and Darrow lives up to his character’s shape-shifting name, morphing from amiable paramour to a frightening depiction of deluded rationalization. Griffin Stanton-Ameisen’s (as Launce) deft balance of humor and woe shows that as in many of Shakespeare’s plays, only the clown possesses true self-honesty.

The text contains the gene pool of all Shakespeare’s later comedies: mistaken identity, misdirected affection, sacrifice and redemption, not to mention the dog Crab. Usual summertime Shakespeare simmers in the overdone, over-dramatized emotions of star-crossed Romeo and Juliet. Two Gentlemen is the reality that a young Shakespeare still understood, and at DSF, it’s worth the trek to watch it.

 

Two Gentlemen of Verona. Presented by Delaware Shakespeare Festival at Rockwood Park, 4561 Washington St Extension, Wilmington, DE. Tickets: $10 to $15. Information: 302-415-3373 or delshakes.org

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines
Help us learn more about Philly.com commenters. Click here to take this quick survey.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Load comments
Continue Reading