Stratford Festival 2008 – Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well

Stratford Festival 2008 – Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well featured image

by Paula Citron.
All’s Well That Ends Well
Stratford Festival
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Marti Maraden
Starring Daniela Vlaskalic, Martha Henry, Brian Dennehy, Jeff Lillico, Juan Chioran, Stephen Ouimette and Tom Rooney
At the Festival Theatre until Aug. 23

All’s Well That Ends Well, one of Shakespeare’s darker comedies, has been given an elegant and thoughtful treatment by director Marti Maraden. Christina Poddubiuk’s 1889 design suits the war mentality of the play very well. Everyone is at odds with everyone else and even the happy ending is compromised. Keith Thomas’ lovely music captures the setting’s Victorian spirit.

This is a production about actors doing what they do best. Visiting American icon Brian Dennehy is a marvellous King of France. Martha Henry as the countess and Fiona Reid as the widow add their charm and grace. Juan Chioran as Parolles practically steals the show, and Stephen Ouimette as Lafew adds bite. Newcomer Daniela Vlaskalic as Helena is a real find, while Jeff Lillico shines as the wayward Bertram. Lesser roles have substance when played by Ben Carlson and Tom Rooney.

One can savour every word and thought of this stylish production.

All’s Well That Ends Well continues at Stratford’s Festival Theatre until Aug. 23.

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