Review by Michael Piscitelli
Going to see theatre is a fantastic way to become more cultured and start up conversations about the arts. If one brings a friend, it can be much easier explaining just how awful or wonderful a piece of theatre really was. Usually this writer does some research on what I’m seeing before writing reviews; unfortunately, due to extenuating circumstances, I wasn’t able learn & prep about “Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)” .
Fortunately, a good friend who is a fellow reviewer attended the same performance at Hart House (U. of T.) and was able to impart some insight into what was to be performed. That and a (well-written) program can be certainly helpful.
The costume design was one of simplicity, using for the most part easily interchangeable articles of clothing that could be swapped out for each other at the drop of a hat. One interesting theme that kept appearing throughout was the use of contemporary costume (i.e. black converse and long-johns) and classical costume. I really enjoyed that the designers didn’t take themselves too seriously with such a fun and raunchy piece, by making everything super rigid or constricting.
The set consisted of a small office on a stepped-up riser and a railing that surrounded the entire office. The railing looked almost like the one that surrounds the playing space used in the Globe Theatre in Southwark. As soon as I made that connection, I became very excited for the show to begin. One thing I noticed right away while perusing the program was that set and costume designer Scott Penner is a Yorkie like me. Still being in school, it’s kind of exciting seeing a grad out in the real world doing something they love.
The performance itself was stellar and uproariously funny. Several times I found myself sitting in my seat nearly in tears trying to stifle my own (incredibly loud) laughter just so I would be able to hear what was happening on-stage. Lesley Robertson, who plays Constance Ledbelly, had me in stitches with her adorable character’s antics and also had the audience feeling a great deal of pity for her ordeals – dealing with her awful boss and strange circumstances throughout the play.
The writings of Torontonian playwright Ann-Marie MacDonald are amazingly clever; wildly funny and absolutely the perfect thing to offset the February blues. My recommendation is to take a friend so you both can quote the classics. As the mobsters in ‘Kiss Me Kate’ musically advise …” Brush up on your Shakespeare; start quoting him now. Brush up on your Shakespeare – And the women you will wow”♪