Stage Productions Presents The Fakespeare Festival
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Dates & Venue August 3 – 28, 2016, 8pm (Sunday Matinees at 2pm) | York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive
Reviewer Jim Macdonald
Buy tickets now. Awkward Stage Productions has a history of sold out performances and for good reason. They do fantastically entertaining, hilarious, fully realized productions with incredibly talented performers and creators. They are one of Vancouver’s very best theatre companies. I’ve seen enough international and national productions to also state, without exaggeration, that they are also one of the world’s best producers of theatre. They’ve topped themselves by also committing to the creation and development of new musicals from local playwrights and composers. Their productions will appeal to everyone, even those that never attend theatre.
Titus is one of the best and most hilarious productions that I’ve ever seen (of thousands of productions from all over the world). There are only two performances left (Aug. 24 and 27 at 8pm). I hope that representatives of Bard on the Beach and the Stratford Festival have seen this show and include it in future seasons. This musical will no doubt end up on Broadway and has a bright, bright future ahead of it as do its performers and creators. Andrew Wade is a wonderfully witty writer and is a revelation. Jenny Anderson’s music is beautiful, varied, and catchy. I’m hoping that there will be a cast recording and DVD released as this is an extraordinary show and troupe.
Titus features amazing performances and an incredibly strong ensemble. Everyone plays their roles to perfection and it’s breathtaking to witness this much talent on one stage. The relationships, repartee, and characterizations were inspired and hysterical. Every character was memorable. There were too many wonderful moments to list. This is why I see theatre. The writing and performances were so strong that it seemed like the entire cast of fifteen had leading roles. The only adjustment that I would be interested to see is for Aaron / Harrison to be without the phone and not have to pretend not to know his lines or how to act at all early on as it takes away from the wonderful pace. I found it confusing the first time I saw the production and assumed that he was a last minute replacement. There is much humour derived from Shakespeare not being confident in Harrison’s acting ability and I believe that this and Harrison’s character’s journey would be even stronger with the alteration.
Titus won Pick of the Fringe last year and is destined for many more awards for its writer, composer, director, performers, and producer. This production is an incredible achievement. See it while you can.
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) is also a strong production with many wonderfully uproarious performances, particularly the bawdy and lusty Juliet, Romeo, and Tybalt in Act II. It’s hilarious to see the interaction and juxtaposition between them and Constance, an uptight academic. I would have loved for the script to spend more time in Verona with these characters. The script could use some editing in Act I as it takes some time for the comedy to take off. Those that are patient are well rewarded. Goodnight Desdemona has only three performances left.
It’s another testament to the strength of the company to see some of those that played secondary and ensemble roles in Titus, play leads in Goodnight Desdemona. I only wish the script were more balanced and gave everyone in the company more opportunities to shine as many wonderful performers don’t have a lot to do.
I highly recommend
both shows in the Fakespeare Festival along with all
future productions from Awkward Stage.
© 2016 Jim Macdonald