The Arts

Stratford Festival 2009 – George F. Walker's Zastrozzi

Stratford Festival 2009 – George F. Walker's Zastrozzi featured image

reviewed by Paula Citron
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Zastrozzi
Stratford Festival
Written by George F. Walker
Directed by Jennifer Tarver
Starring Rick Roberts, Sarah Orenstein, Andrew Shaver, John Vickery, Oliver Becker and Amanda Lisman
At the Studio Theatre until Oct. 3

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Among the late Stratford openings, the best production is George F. Walker’s Zastrozzi. The 1977 hit still packs a wallop, and Jennifer Tarver proves once again that she is a genius director.

Zastrozzi is a combination of Jacobean revenge play-cum-19th century melodrama-cum modernist satire-cum comédie noir. Not only has Tarver managed to instil all these qualities into the production, she also pays homage to Walker’s deadpan delivery of very funny and ironic one-liners.

Tarver has a mostly brilliant cast led by Rick Roberts as Zastrozzi, the charismatic and sexy master criminal. The object of his revenge is the artist Verezzi, played with delicious high camp and idiotic childishness by Andrew Shaver. Sarah Orenstein as the supreme seducer Matilda, and Oliver Becker and John Vickery as Zastrozzi’s and Verezzi’s henchman respectively are divinely single minded. Only the untalented Amanda Lisman as Julia mars the production.

From lighting to costumes, Zastrozzi is a triumph of vision.

Zastrozzi continues at Stratford’s Studio Theatre until Oct. 3.

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