It's a summer staple in New York City - Shakespeare in the Park. The latest offering on stage at The Delacorte Theater is "Cymbeline.” NY1’s Roma Torre filed the following review.
“Cymbeline” is not often produced, and there is good reason for that. It has a bunch of characters in a convoluted plot that rambles for nearly three hours and wraps up in the most contrived fashion. However, there are ways around this challenging play and I take great pleasure in being able to say director Daniel Sullivan and his outstanding company have navigated its pitfalls with delightful finesse.
“Cymbeline” joins the group of Shakespeare works that is classified as romance, though it is loaded with both comic and tragic elements. The trick is finding a way to bring out all of the play's dimensions coherently while making sure the audience stays entertained and, ideally, moved as well.
Sullivan's production is a mishmash with a set that looks like a prop shop and eclectic costumes evoking ancient Rome, the Elizabethan era and the 60s Rat Pack. In addition, it all somehow comes together quite amusingly thanks in large part to deliciously inventive staging and a troupe of marvelously versatile thespians.
It is pointless to try to summarize the plotline. It shifts gears abruptly from love story to fairytale to high drama and low comedy. Along the way, we are treated to some terrific songs by Tom Kitt, and one number in particular featuring Raul Esparza doing an inspired Sinatra imitation. There is audience participation, some clever double casting and a number of directorial surprises.
But even without the winning gimmicks, it’s the virtuosity of the performances that keep us hooked. Nine wonderful actors including the great Kate Burton and Patrick Page are led by Public Theater veterans Lily Rabe as the virtuous Imogen and Hamish Linklater playing both Posthumus and Cloten displaying yet again a mastery of the Bard with an infectious chemistry impossible to resist.
So yes, we are entertained, captivated and moved in an altogether magical night of mayhem in the Park.