THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (THEATRE BANSHEE): 91% – SWEET

Daniel Kaemon, from left, Time Winters, Brett Mack, Barry Lynch and Kirsten Kollender in "The Merchant of Venice" at Theatre Banshee. Credit: Donald Agnelli.

SWEET
Yet director Sean Branney, who won a Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Award for his direction of last season’s “The Crucible,” largely redresses that pitfall by emphasizing the comical in a surprisingly rollicking staging. And if all that high energy occasionally verges on the manic, the production nonetheless scores high points as a richly cogent entertainment that honors every syllable of the Bard’s text.
F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times

SWEET
By bathing the play in rich good humor, Branney ensures the last scene is a festive celebration of the restoration of order in a disordered world. Designer Arthur McBride provides the handsomely symmetrical set.
Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

BITTERSWEET
It’s no simple task to make comedy from chestnuts, to inform that comedy with tragic elements, or to stage a big dance in the middle of it all. That any Merchant is even watchable is a great success, and Branney’s certainly is watchable. It’s just not very consistent; but then, neither is the writing. Even Shakespeare couldn’t get everything right.
Jason Rohrer – Stage and Cinema

SWEET
“Get thee to the Banshee theatre.” And quickly, the run ends May 13th.
Madeleine Shaner – Park La Brea News/Beverly Press (opens in pdf)

SWEET
The company, under the deft direction of Sean Branney, brings out the youth and humor of the material in ways that, without the gimmicks of “concept staging” (setting Elizabethan dramas in Victorian England, 1950s Manhattan, or today’s Las Vegas, etc.), give the play a remarkably contemporary feel.
Richard Adams & Ramon Valle – World Socialist

SWEET
This technique proves mostly effective, as there is a great deal of comedy in the piece and the cast is up to the task. It’s only when the tale of the merchant and moneylender comes back for another installment that the production lurches toward the melodramatic. But if one can roll with the shifts in tone, there is much to enjoy in this staging.
Kurt Gardner – Blog Critics

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
Theatre Banshee
3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank
8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; Ends May 13, 2012
Tickets: $20; (818) 846-5323
Running time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

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  1. Rohrer says:

    Is that Rohrer guy the guy that got banned from the Edgemar? lmao. He’s an idiot. Laughably so.

  2. Jason Rohrer Jason Rohrer says:

    Yes. He hides in the dark under a fake handle and calls names – oh, wait, that’s you.

  3. Rohrer says:

    oooh, a challenged 5 year old called and wants her witty retort back. I’m just a critic who prides himself in saying ridiculous, malicious things just for the fun of it rather than being constructive. No wait, that’s you.
    Who’s a cute little theatre critic. You are! Oh yes you are! goochie goochie goo. Critic need a bottle? Critic need a clean bum? Oh yes you do, cute little critic you. Mommy’s so proud!

  4. Tim Simms says:

    Personally, Mr Roher (the real one), I think you were too kind. I found the production to be so spectacularly dreadful, I’m not sure I’d give the director another chance. I, too, found the acting to be all-over-the-map. The staging was clunky, and the embrace of insufferable cliches in almost every scene had me wishing it was over long before the curtain call.

    As for Roher (the fake one), it’s quite amusing that you should refer to the critic as a challenged five year-ole, then go on to spew such inane, immature drivel.