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On the Razzle

Apr. 29th, 2007 | 12:36 pm

Ashland, OR
at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

On the Razzle at Oregon Shakespeare
On the Razzle by Tom Stoppard

Either your the type of person who laughs non-stop at silly sit-coms or you're not.  If you're not, then there's no use in someone talking to you about the quality of the script, the acting, the physical humor, or any of the other skills employed in the show. 

I am not a sit-com aficionado.  So don't waste your time explaining how right and funny a plot line you saw was.

And, that's my feeling about On the Razzle, Oregon Shakespeare's obligatory farce for the season. 

It just isn't my type of play. I can agree that the word play is witty, well-written, and engaging.  The story is Hello Dolly mixed slightly with one of Shakespeare's cross-dressing suitor comedies. It's cute, quick, smart, and lively.  This production's staging is innovative and catchy.  The costumes are appropriately gaudy.  The night is a visual bouquet created by trained  and determined florists.

The actors are downright flawless.  Fun, in-character, happily over-the-top, yet comfortable.  They mix perfect line delivery with spot-on physical movements.  Tony DeBruno (Zangler, the merchant) maneuvers through his malaprop-laden speeches expertly, and the timing of his farcical collaborators is impeccable. Director Laird Williamson deserves my personal thanks for not casting the perpetually bouncy, scenery chewer Chris DuVall in this play.

"I hated it!" started off one of our group as the entire house left the theater with wide smiles on our faces.  You couldn't not be smiling because you'd just spent two hours in a clean, welcoming up-beat madhouse. So, she admitted with a little prodding, she hadn't hated the production.  But, rather, she thought it was just was a waste of time.

That's my judgment, too.  Seeing On the Razzle spent time and money that could have been used to see a real play.

Two Syntaxes Out of 5

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