Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Edward II"

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note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Larry Stark


"Edward II"

by Christopher Marlowe
Directed by Patrick Wang

Scenic Design by David J. miller
Lighting Design by Nathaniel Packard
Costume Design by Amanda Mujica
Sound Design by Michael Dalby
Fight Choreography by Robert Isaacson
Makeup Design by Paula Kelly
Maskmaker Eric Bornstein
Heraldry Design by Reinhold A. Mahler
Stage Manager Anya Weber

CAST

Edward II..........................................Mark Saturno
Gaveston/Lightborn............................Patrick Zeller
Queen Isabella.................................Birgit Huppuch
Mortimer Jr. ........................................Kent French
Kent..........................................G. Zachariah White
Coventry/Pembroke.................................Bill Salem
Warwick/Matrevis....................................Bern Budd
Lancaster/Leicester..................................Dev Luthra
Mortimer Sr./Rice ap Howel......Anthony Dangerfield
Prince Edward/Masker........................Joshua Rollins
Canterbury/Levune/Berkley.....................John Boller
Spencer.........................................Ozzie Carman, Jr.
Arundel/ John of Hainault................Joshua Wolkmir
Baldock/Masker......................................Peter Lurie
James/Gurney/Masker...................Stephen Radochia

If, as some aver, Kit Marlowe feigning death did rise again to pen the plays that some assign to that rough actor, Shaxpy named, then this of "Edward II" shows that such a resurrection raised him much in stagecraft and in character to write those well-kept secret screeds. Young Kit was no Master Will. Lucky he is that Pet Brick Productions dedicate themselves to detail, and bring young Marlowe's words to well-cast life in the three-hours traffic of their stage --- a life that shines the most as, in act three, the shadows close about this arrogant and ill-beset young English king.

Director Patrick Wang respects a text with more twists and reverses of fortune than "King Lear" in which every often contradictory speech is flatly, directly honest. Edward wins a war at one point and sends his enemies to the headsman, only to have them stroll onstage in the very next scene --- they've escaped. Edward is reminded at one point that the French king with an army is in England --- and no one mentions him again. And Birgit Huppuch, luminously playing Edward's spurned Queen Isabella, is radiantly believable, even when she's lying. Marlowe's scintillating language allows no space for nuance.

At the opening, all his earls and barons are outraged that Edward (Mark Saturno) promotes his haughty, low-born homosexual lover Gaveston (Patrick Zeller) as chancellor and earl, wastes time and money on (elegantly danced) masked dumb-shows, and squanders any love the people may have had for him in wilful defiance of their dudgeon. His own Brother Edmund Earl of Kent (G. Zachariah White) throws himself wholeheartedly behind Edward, then in with the conspirators, then back against them again as though he were a contrarian weathercock. Ultimately, led by ambitious young Mortimer (Anthony Dangerfield) the earls force their king to give the crown to his young and presumably more malleable son (Joshua Rollins) and Edward is horrifically spitted with a red-hot poker.

But at every whiplash turn of events, the fifteen-member cast (playing more than 25 different characters) is solidly, vigorously alive, and the Elizabethan poetry rolls honestly, excitingly from every tongue. Scenic Designer David J. Miller has built the set of Stonehenge sarsen-stones, hanging heraldic flags to move the swiftly changing scenes from place to place while Michael Dalby's incidental music and Amanda Mujica's colorful costumes anchor the vigorous play in 1307-27, with human conflicts as fresh as yesterday.

Only Robert Isaacson's multi-battle fight choreography for the war, which sacrifices flash for safety, and Marlowe's all-one-now-all-the-other story line mar an eloquently acted production. The three and a quarter hour show will tighten during performance, but once Mark Saturno's Edward loses decisively, the entire final act after a second intermission is riveting, eloquently played Elizabethan historical tragedy at its finest.

Love,
===Anon.


"Edward II" (till 29 April)
TREMONT THEATER
276 Tremont Street, BOSTON
1 (617) 642-1456
www.petbrick.com
"Snakebit" (22 March - 14 April)
SPEAKEASY STAGE CO.
Boston Center for the Arts
1 (617) 437-7731


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