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
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
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
“Get thee to the Banshee theatre.” And quickly, the run ends May 13th.
Madeleine Shaner – Park La Brea News/Beverly Press (opens in pdf)
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
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
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
About the Author: We don’t “review” shows here at the Lemon, rather we "review" reviews by gathering them from a variety of local review sites around the internet, judging them to be positive or negative, then forming an aggregate score that we call a LEMONMETER RATING, showing how well that show has been reviewed in total. For more detail on how the LemonMeter works visit here.