My darling fiancée and I took in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of The Way of the World on Sunday evening, which we both enjoyed – her more so than myself. Perhaps this is somewhat of a reflection of the fact that she’s lately been taking in the 90210 retread and I…. um, haven’t.
If you thought Melrose Place, Susan Lucci, and Rob Reiner invented the romantic potboiler then I have a three hundred year old news flash for you. Congeve’s play practically demands a diagram to figure out who’s attached to who via marriage, love, conspiracy or some combination thereof. I don’t dispute being a bear of very little brain, but my difficulty in keeping track of the plethora of M-names in the play and all their interconnection did somewhat strain my appreciation.
It didn’t limit my enjoyment of the bright spots of the production, however, two of whom are pictured above. I enjoyed Floyd King in particular, who is wonderfully fun and foppish and who manages to convince you he’s rolling his eyes even from several hundred feet away. My only grump would be with Andrew Long, who I find very pleasant until he gets a little shouty. It’s something about his vocal delivery when he’s playing agtiated that has managed to take me out of the moment in Major Barbara, Julius Caesar, and now this. Perhaps it’s just me.
The sets in the Lansburgh for this production are just stunning, but the costumes makes it look shabby. STC always has lovely costuming but this is a step above. Every outfit is impeccable, colorful, and lush. The sets are classy and particularly bright; everything seems to be a blonde wood that practically glows. The only tragedy is that we get to enjoy the adorable Chocolate House – the front of which swings open like a huge Barbie’s Restoration-era Playset – for only one act.
While the production as a whole didn’t gel for me, there’s a lot to reccomend it.
The Way of the World at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Lansburgh Theatre
September 30th through November 16th, 2008
450 7th St, NW
Washington, DC 20004