Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The 2017 Shaw Festival – Season Recap
By David Grapes
Arts Journalist

With the exception of Middletown and 1979, I was able to attend the remaining nine productions in the 2017 Shaw Festival season. These were my favorites:

Saint Joan **** 4 Stars!
Stunning set and lighting designs, outstanding ensemble performances and a delectable star turn by Sara Topham in the pivotal title role make this Saint Joan special. How nice to see new Artistic Director Tim Carroll create a truly memorable production in his first time at bat. @ShawTheatre! - A Must See!

Wilde Tales **** 4 Stars!
Wilde Tales @ShawTheatre is inventive, entertaining and quite touching! Enjoyable for both the young and the young at heart.

Me and My Girl *** 3 ½ Stars!
Strong performances, inventive physical comedy and energetic dance numbers all help to keep this production of Me and My Girl on its toes @shawfestival. Three and 1/2 Stars! A must see for 2017. #shawfestival #theatre

Dancing at Lughnasa *** 3 Stars!
The excellent female ensemble keeps Dancing at Lughnasa on its toes @ShawTheatre despite a remarkable ugly set and drab lighting.

Androcles and the Lion *** 3 Stars!
The rarely produced Shaw treatise on Christian values, Androcles and the Lion @shawfestival is certainly interesting and at times quite thought provoking! Too many directorial ideas packed into the evening for my taste. I loved the prologue and using an audience member to play the Lion. I thought it was a brilliant idea to add contemporary hymns and other sacred music. However, I found the use of audience interaction balls just plain silly and very distracting. While they perhaps worked better in Act One, they really were a momentum killer in Act Two. Certainly a fascinating Shaw debut for new Artistic Director Tim Carroll. Three Stars for the energetic and talented cast who were all willing to "jump off the cliff" to support the unusual production concept.

These were not my favorites:

An Octoroon ** 2½ Stars!
An Octoroon is a play better read than seen and the @ShawTheatre production albeit valiantly performed only confirms that fact.

The Madness of King George III ** 2½ Stars!
A talky and undramatic script doom The Madness of King George III @ShawTheatre despite a fine performance by Tom McCamus.

Dracula ** 2½ Stars!
Despite a stunning scenic and projection design this 3hour adaptation of Dracula @ShawTheatre is all bark and no bite!

1837: The Farmers’ Revolt * 1 Star!
The Farmers’ Revolt @ShawTheatre is about 8 fine actors trapped in an awful concept trying to breath life into an awful play!

Coming soon my preview of the 2018 Shaw Festival season!
2018 Tickets and Information at:

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