Speed Merchant (of Venice)

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

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Review by CB SPENCER

June 18, 2012 certified reviewer

My overall impression

This smart, fast, clever version of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice explores love, racism, integrity, revenge, and justice. Director Tiger Reel has set the classic in modern times, illuminating how little society has changed over the past few hundred years. Both tragic and comic, we follow the stories of some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters; and in 90 minutes, we are reminded of the brilliance of Shakespeare’s language. The ensemble is solid, with a standout performance by Jack Young as Shylock. His work is both moving and exciting, a combination not easily achieved. Tiger Reel’s adaptation honors the essence of the much longer text, and his particularly fine direction brings both playfulness and depth to the piece. His perfectly effective staging moves the story forward with clarity and ease. It’s a wonderful show, and I highly recommend it.

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