Reviewed by Matt Ritchey
Porters of Hellgate are back at Fringe with Double Falsehood, attributed to Lewis Theobald based on Shakespeare and Fletcher’s Cardenio, itself based on the story in Don Quixote. It may not be the most well-known play of its time, but the company attacks it with the same vigor and ease they would doing a hundredth production of Midsumner Nights Dream.
Or perhaps Much Ado About Nothing would be a better example, if Don John were the protagonist and it was renamed Much Ado About Something. And that something is extremely disturbing. A brief synopsis: Julio (Tim Oakes) is the good guy betrothed to Leonora Katie Hotchkiss). His best friend Henriquez, brother to Roderick (Michael Bigley) and son of the Duke (Dylan Booth), is supposed to court Leonora while Julio is away at court but, after wooing and raping beautiful young Violante (Susan Vesely), Henriquez (Jesse James Thomas) decides to court Leonora for himself. And her father Don Bernardo (Dan White) is just fine with this, as it will result in his family paired with noble lineage.
So this one isn’t a comedy.
But it’s wonderful. And it’s simply and elegantly done by PoH and directors Alex Parker and Thomas Bigley. The cast are costumed in simple colorful shirts and deftly play multiple roles while, to juxtapose the language and time period, incidental music and fight sequences are set to hip hop and modern music. The only set is a ladder and some blocks. It’s as simple as can be and this lets the acting and the words shine, which they do.
Double Falsehood is a treat.
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