Stratford Festival 2008
Adapted and directed by Morris Panych from the novel by Herman Melville
Starring David Ferry, Shaun Smyth, W. Joseph Matheson and Marcus Nance
Studio Theatre until Oct. 18
In collaboration with movement designer Wendy Gorling and choreographer Shaun Amyot, Morris Panych has adapted and directed Herman Melville’s mammoth 1851 novel Moby Dick as physical theatre. This Stratford Festival premiere is ambitious and audacious but it still needs work.
To the music of Claude Debussy, Panych creates images of staggering beauty gilded by Dana Osborne’s costumes, Ken MacDonald’s representational set, and Alan Brodie’s atmospheric lighting. Unfortunately, David Ferry does not radiate Capt. Ahab’s magnificent obsession, and the other men of the multicultural village aboard the Pequod are, for the most part, ciphers. The voice-over of Shaun Smyth who plays the narrator Ishmael has been sampled to the point where it is rendered almost incomprehensible. As for the Sirens, the production needs better dancers who spend less time on stage but with more imaginative choreography.
This Moby Dick could be a triumph. It is just not there yet.
Moby Dick continues at the Stratford Festival’s Studio Theatre until Oct. 18.