The Winter's Tale
Time Out says
Theater review by Raven Snook
Regardless of station, we all must bear some suffering. For the characters in Shakespeare’s schizophrenic seriocomedy The Winter’s Tale, that includes suffering an attack by an actual bear. But most of the pain in the play stems from the madness of King Leontes (Anatol Yusef, believably unhinged), whose unjustified suspicion that his wife, Hermione (a regal Kelley Curran), is having an affair with his friend Polixenes (Dion Mucciacito) sets a deadly three-act tragedy in motion, immediately followed by a two-act rom-com with a possibly supernatural twist.
The tonal dissonance is jarring. Director Arin Arbus attempts to unify The Winter’s Tale’s disparate parts by bookending them with their emotional opposites: The dark half opens on a lighthearted note, with a bear dancing in the snow, and the lighter one concludes with the ghost of a child. In between, the drama is frequently overwrought and the comedy sometimes too broad; but there are magical moments, too, as befits a play that—400-year-old spoiler alert!—brings the supposedly dead Hermione back to life for its happy ending. As the loopy con man Autolycus, Arnie Burton steals the second part of the play (along with many wallets), and John Keating and Ed Malone are a hoot as the hick adoptive family to Leontes’s long-lost daughter. But Curran’s climactic resurrection is what truly thaws the heart. Remorse, forgiveness and second chances are never out of season.
Theatre for a New Audience (Off Broadway). By William Shakespeare. Directed by Arin Arbus. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 50mins. One intermission.