We saw two great shows this week.
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest, at the Roundabout Theater – with the simply wonderful Brian Bedford.
And, last night, The Merchant of Venice at the Pace University theater. The show starred F. Murray Abraham (did you know he is Syrian, not Jewish?) as Shylock, but while he gave a fine performance, the production was more notable for the way it set the piece in the present – with the characters as Wall Street Yuppies, using Apples and iPhones – as well as the suggestion of a sexual attraction between Bassanio and Antonio, making the lost ring theme at the end of the play a most believable test staged by Portia, rather than the exceedingly silly farce that it appears to be on the page (and, I suppose, in many productions). Jacob Ming-Trent also put in an inspired performance as Launcelot.
See http://theater.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/theater/reviews/05merchant.html for a review. The show closes in NYC on Sunday, but will be travelling the country (Chicago, Boston, LA) – if you get a chance to see it, don’t miss it!