Speed Merchant (of Venice)

theatre · action! theatre company · Ages 12+ · world premiere · United States

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June 17, 2012 certified reviewer

My overall impression

I love Shakespeare, and this adaptation did not disappoint. Set in present day Italy, the men wore suits and the women wore short sexy dresses and stiletto heels. But the language was pure Elizabethan.

From the opening minute of the show with best friends Antonio and Bassanio dancing, the entire cast came on and the future couplings were easily demonstrated.

Director Tiger Reel assembled an all star cast of some of the finest actors in film and television. Despite the outward appearance, the language flowed quite naturally and believably from their lips.

Kudos to Jack Young as Shylock, who truly captured the essence of the unmerciful Jewish loan shark who cared only about obtaining his pound of flesh.

Also noteworthy were David Hardie as Bassanio, Vanessa Vaughn as Portia, Samantha Klein as Nerissa and Jon Weinberg as Antonio.

The pacing was perfect, allowing them to perform the entire play in just 90 minutes. Every essential part of the story was displayed in perfection.

This is one of the best, if not the best, offerings of this year’s Fringe. Don’t miss it – two very hearty thumbs up!

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