by Michael Meigs
Aidan O'Reilly has a hoarse dignity as the imprisoned Claudio. He shows us the vivid, turning, tightly controlled emotions of hope, incredulity, confusion and despair as Isabella explains the impossible constraints of his situation. Jake Mahler as the intense and tempted governor Angelo delivers a fierce and believable performance. One hears and sees his devotion to righteousness; one witnesses the power of the evil that twists his virtue to lasciviousness, corruption of the flesh and the injustice of murder by authority. Before the performance and at the interval he reveals himself to be a fine bluegrass tenor and musician, as well, and it’s easy to imagine him in a mountain gospel quartet lamenting the weakness of the flesh.
Rick Blunt, who serves as the troupe's pre-show master of ceremonies, loud friend to all, is a favorite. In the aisle beforehand, a UT staff member congratulated him in advance on his role as Lucio the fantastic (“That's a great role! Everybody loves Lucio!”).
Pompey Bum the tapster (Assistant Director Dennis Henry) and Mistress Overdone the bawd (Kelley McKinnon) are deftly done and amusing, but the real comic turn in this piece is Denice Burbach as Elbow the constable. She prances, flails, flings malapropisms and expostulates for all the world like Daffy Duck, without Daffy’s juicy speech impediment.
The whole cast is articulate, coordinated like clockwork and practiced, thanks to the six months of performing this piece in the repertory of the ‘Restless Ecstasy’ tour. They deliver a vigorous comedy in Measure for Measure, one that sends you off happy into the evening.
For best seats order Measure for Measure tickets now.
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