Katherine recently sent me a review by Bridgette Redman of Encore Michigan, which for some reason didn’t end up getting published. Bridgette said we could share some of it on our own websites and promo materials, so here are some of my favorite bits.
Running now at Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company’s multiple locations, their “Antony and Cleopatra” is a love story and Katherine Mayberry and Scott Lange as the titular couple sizzle with tempestuous passion. Let the whole world make their demands, let armies and navies clash, these two are meant to be together and nothing is going to keep them apart in the mortal world.
Mayberry’s Cleopatra is a woman of mature beauty, one whose presence is commanding and who knows she can get emperors to kneel in wonder before her. But, in this production at least, she is not merely toying with the heart of Antony. She is genuinely in love with him, he occupies her every thought and Mayberry ensures that this passion of Cleopatra’s shines on her every expression.
Lange brings nobility to the role of Antony. While those in Rome gossip that his love for Cleopatra has corrupted him and made him soft, Lange instead shows that Antony is made more noble by his love for her, that “the nobleness of life is to do thus.” He is a man who is inspired and devoted, even while the governing of the world lies on his shoulders.
When the two are on stage together, it is hard to deny them anything or to wish anything but for them to be together. Their love is palpable and even their arguments are that of two lovers who require reassurances from each other than their love is indeed true, for how can something so mighty, so amazing, be real?
Directing this show is Aili Huber, and she ensures the story always moves quickly and clearly. This is a trim version of the play and no time is wasted between scenes. She also makes use of long strips of blue fabric that represents the water of the Nile in Egypt and the exotic magic that is the East compared to the more spartan Rome.
Huber had a very clear story to tell with this “Antony and Cleopatra,” and it was one that was convincing. Yes, there are politics and battles and warfare, but the heart of this story are the two people in the title, two lovers ripe in age, experienced in the world who know what they want and will take it. In her vision, in the hands of Mayberry and Lange, this “Antony and Cleopatra” really does rival any production of “Romeo and Juliet” as a timeless and stunning love story.
Sorry you missed it? We’re remounting it at the Rose on August 24.