Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: (Toronto) Fuck Shakespeare (Fringe)

by Colette Shaw

I probably should have realized what I was in for when the play opened with a playwright unable to write a play. While it has some good moments and a handful of good performances, Fuck Shakespeare is ultimately an incoherent mess.

I’ll start with the good: Amelia Bērziņş’ costumes are beautiful and appropriate: I had no problem believing that the goddess who weaved the stars into the sky also weaved her gorgeous dress, and the Shakespeare heroines' costumes look plausibly like outfits Shakespeare heroines would wear: perhaps not all in the same production (or even play), but in a play like this with characters jumping in from other worlds and genres that isn’t a problem. The acting overall is uneven, but there are some solid performances, among them Kristen Zaza’s overbearing Hermione and Ariana Leask’s otherworldly Orihime.

The real downfall of this play is the script. The comedy is overwritten: there are definitely a few good laughs (I particularly enjoyed the introduction of the two Disney characters and Juliet) but whatever life the jokes have is lost when they continue for more than a minute after the punchline. The frame narrative of the sad playwright and his lothario friend grinds the action to a halt whenever it intrudes on the play-within-the-play. I liked the idea of the cabal of heroines mistreated by love, but the individuals involved seem haphazardly chosen and not fully thought out. There is definitely the potential for a good play in here somewhere, but I can’t recommend seeing it in its current state.

Fuck Shakespeare is at the Toronto Fringe
Read playwright Zachary Kornblum talking about the creation of his work

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