Saturday, December 13, 2008
Women Beware Women
Women Beware Women is an explosively clear rendition of a classic Jacobean love story. No wonder the company is called Red Bull--like the drink, you can mix Jesse Berger with any drama and the results will be eye-opening, dizzying, and thrilling. In Thomas Middleton's play, the drama is a deftly staged game of love in which "vengeance [meets] vengeance like a chess match," and the Queen is Kathryn Meisle. As Livia, she hooks her niece up with her brother, breaks up a marriage between newlyweds, and buys the love of a younger man, all because she can . . . and, in this powerful production, because she has to, for she is driven by desires as well. There are big banquet scenes and bigger masques, and the whole width, depth, and height of the appropriately classic church theater is used, too. The whole production comes together so well that even fans of modern musicals will feel at home with this straight 1700s tragedy: each line sings, and the themes of empowerment and jealousy are crystal clear.