CULVER CITY NEWS
in Carlson Park
By Mary Templeton
– “This production, under
Gregg W. Brevoort’s direction, is just
Should a critic mention only a play and
its production elements? Or should a review encompass the whole event,
including ambiance and details of the venue? Assuming the latter, there
can’t be a better theatrical experience than sitting outside in a park
under a tree, with a gentle breeze blowing, watching a professional
troupe of actors perform classic theatre.
The Culver City Public Theatre opened
its season last Saturday with a skillful production of “All’s Well That
Ends Well.” This dark comedy is considered one of Shakespeare’s most
difficult and challenging to produce. Yet the non-profit, non-equity
professional theatre company based in Culver City, in residence at Dr.
Carlson memorial Park, mounted an enjoyable production of this rarely
Helena is in love with Bertram and, of
course, he not with her. She follows him to Paris and cures the dying
King of France with medical knowledge learned from her late father. The
King, out of gratitude, decrees that Helena can marry any man she
wishes. She chooses Bertram. Reluctantly, he marries her. Instead of
consummating the marriage, Bertram runs off to Italy. Helena again
follows, and the rest of the play chronicles Helena’s attempts to meet
the challenge Bertram has given her.
Andrea Westby is wonderful as Helena. It
is difficult to convey just the right balance of strength and weakness,
confidence and desperation, assurance and vulnerability, to portray
Helena well, and Ms. Westby does it effectively.
Tyler Lindsay is the spoiled, snobbish
Bertram. The only question is why the beautiful and bright Helena is in
love with this arrogant, womanizing man. But Mr. Lindsay’s Bertram makes
the premise believable.
All of the members of the cast carry off
their roles well. Laura Neufeld’s Countess of Rousillion, Stacy
Wengryn’s Diana, and John Duncan’s clown LaVache deserve special
Kyle Nudo is Parolles, Bertram’s lying
friend. He plays his character broader in comparison to the more subdued
performances of the rest of the cast. But an argument can be made that
the role calls for it.
This version of “All’s Well That Ends
Well” is set “sometime in the late 1800’s,” and the costumes by
RoseMarie Fabiano work well. They are appropriately old-fashioned enough
to depict the right tone, and not so heavy as to be distracting in the
Shakespeare can be ponderous, yet
“modern” versions are often disconcertingly incongruous. This
production, under Gregg W. Brevoort’s direction, is just right,
especially with the sometimes difficult conditions imposed by the
But there is plenty of shade for the
blankets and lawn chairs of the audience and always a breeze in Carlson
Park. Seeing the actors fend off a couple of butterflies, and having the
dialogue drowned out by a helicopter only once, is a small price to pay
for experiencing a superb production of Shakespeare in the park.
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