St. Louis Shakespeare Gets “Timon Of Athens” Out Of The Way- Now Let’s Move On

Scan_July-22-2013-1-03-34-985-PM“Timon Of Athens,” currently playing at St. Louis Shakespeare Company, doesn’t look, feel or sound like a play by William Shakespeare. Despite a noble cast and solid direction by Milt Zoth, it shows a weakness unlike any other play by the Bard. The premise is a bit iffy and the language does not flow and just doesn’t ring true. It’s a shame because the hard working cast really gives it their all and some excellent performances shine through.

Timon, generous to a fault, shares his wealth with his friends until it really starts to catch up with him and his debts increase. When he returns to said friends for a helping hand, he is categorically denied and decides to take what is left of his dignity and retire to a cave in solitude. All visitors- even those with regret and asking for forgiveness, are soundly rebuked. When Athens decides to reinstate him to his former glory, it is too late and a somber city mourns.

Michael Brightman is a powerful and convincing Timon though he tends to get a bit too fierce and overbearing in the second act. Chris LaBanca and Patty Ulrich do nice work as two of the “fair weather” friends as does Carl Overly. Nicole Angeli is a stalwart steward and delivers some of the more “Shakespearean” lines from the play. While Maggie Murphy also shines as the cynical Apemanta. Cameron Ulrich also does nice work as the captain who lends help to the utmost to try to make up for his earlier treatment of Timon.

Scan_July-22-2013-1-37-09-354-PMRounding out the cast are Don McClendon, Kim Sansone, Betsy Bowman and Alyssa Ward in multiple roles. A very nice set design by Pippin McGowen and strong lights by Steve Miller make the play look great and the choice for modern dress (suits and ties for Senators and cocktail dresses for the ladies) works well enough thanks to the work of Michele Friedman Siler.

In other words, everything works but the play itself. It almost sounded like a school project where the teacher tells the class to write a play in the mode of Shakespeare. It has some of the essentials of his work but lacks the power and the drive of his better known tragedies. We’ll get another chance to view a lesser know Shakespeare work with St. Louis Shakespeare’s next production of “The Two Noble Kinsmen.”

Contact the St. Louis Shakespeare Company at 314-361-5664 for tickets or more information. “Timon Of Athens” runs through July 28th at the Hunter Theatre at DeSmet High School.

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