I am writing to encourage you ALL to do yourselves the extreme favor of NOT MISSING this month’s production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. This is an incredible, funny, poignant production; and trust me, you’ll thank me later for this encouragement.
But wait! I hear you cry. Um… doesn’t the show open NEXT week? How can you know how good a show is before it’s even opened?
Because, dear reader, I have the wonderful and occasionally annoying honor of sharing an office space with the main rehearsal hall. (Welcome to the wild and woolly world of Non-Profit Theater.) So, whilst trying to write our grants and secure sponsorships, I am occasionally compelled to turn around in my chair to watch a particularly wacky or heart-wrenching moment of a rehearsal.
I have been a silent witness to this production (except for when I laughed out loud – oops!) since the first read-through, and I therefore feel uniquely qualified to tell you that with a whole week of rehearsals left to go, this is already a superb production. Jeff McKerley brings all the off-the-wall humor and incredible tenderness to the director’s chair that Tavern aficionados have come to expect from his own live performances. But more than that, he has accomplished what many directors say is 90% of what makes a good show: the right casting.
Paul Hester and Guildenstern (or is it Rosencrantz?) and Nick Faircloth as Rosencrantz (or, erm… wait…) are beautifully cast as the two hapless friends of Hamlet’s whose innocence of political intrigue lands them in hot water. They are in turns immensely clever (as only Tom Stoppard can be) and endearingly naïve; overwhelmed with concern for their fate and in the next breath carefree as school children… and watching them in rehearsal has been an absolute joy. Likewise, Drew Reeves as the Player and his band of tragedians shine with impeccable timing and physical ability. Drew in particular as the histrionic, never-quite-know-where-you-stand-with-him thespian brings an energy and rage to the role that makes him fascinating to watch.
The bottom line: my recommendation is to order your tickets NOW, before the word of mouth which will surely follow Opening Night sells this production out.