Richard III is a bit of of a one-man show, but a good one:
Peter Dinklage, who has never before played a major Shakespearean part, takes on one of the biggest, juiciest ones in the Public Theater’s new production of “Richard III,” and emerges cum laude, if not quite summa. At first glance it may look like a piece of trick casting, with Mr. Dinklage, who is a dwarf (his word), playing the hunchbacked killer-king who’ll do anything to anyone in order to get ahead. But the star of “The Station Agent” is no theatrical stuntman. He’s a magnetic, eye-grabbing actor who just happens to be four-foot-five, and when he strides from the wings, glowers into the middle distance and announces that “I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion…am determined to prove a villain,” you can all but hear the audience shuddering with prospective dread….
To be sure, his inexperience in classical repertory can’t be overlooked. He’s not always comfortable with Shakespeare’s verse, which he sometimes articulates overcarefully, and the upper register of his dark, grainy bass-baritone voice is barely developed. (If you want to hear what a real classical actor sounds like, take note of Isa Thomas’ awesome Queen Margaret.) Perhaps his performance is best regarded for now as a work in progress–but oh, the places he’ll go!
Unlike most of my critical brethren, I gave a rave to Last Easter:
Bryony Lavery, the British playwright who hit the jackpot last season with “Frozen,” crapped out when she was accused of plagiarizing part of that mesmerizing play about a serial killer. (A settlement is reportedly in the works.) Undaunted by the hullabaloo, MCC Theater is now presenting Ms. Lavery’s “Last Easter,” the printed script of which anxiously credits every possible source, up to and including “the wonderful jokers who told me all the jokes.” No matter where she got the jokes, “Last Easter,” which runs through Oct. 23 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, is thoroughly watchable, acted by a fine cast and given a pitch-perfect staging by Doug Hughes (who also directed “Frozen”).
Like “Frozen,” “Last Easter” is a problem play that uses its hot topic–euthanasia–as a means, not an end. It’s about June (Veanne Cox), Gash (Jeffrey Carlson), Leah (Clea Lewis) and Joy (Florencia Lozano), four theatrical types who communicate exclusively in brittle, witty repart