|The Merchant of Venice|
Contemporary Merchant for Sydney – Brassy, Funny, Exciting… Haunting
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE: Genesian Theatre, Sydney 18 Feb to 31 March
Venice is sinking.
In this imagined Venice, wild carnivals are held, money is thrown around, lovers quarrel and disguise themselves.
The city is glamorous and life is like a Broadway musical without singing. The young dandies of the town are carefree, charming and rich. But this wealth and decadence start to weigh down on the eroded foundations of the town: vile racism, judicial corruption and economic greed begin to bubble and seep through to the surface.
In the eye of this technicolour storm are Antonio and Shylock. They are floating through surreal circumstances, displaced, angry and downtrodden. Shylock is subjected to brutal discrimination and made evil. He is a victim pushed to wickedness. Antonio is disenchanted with his wealth and recklessly assists Bassanio’s quest to find both love and a place in the new world.
Brilliant young director Constantine Costi (Kingies, Tartuffe) has set up The Merchant and the Money Lender as eternal enemies, somehow linked by their dislocation.
“They transcend the material world,” says Costi, “and their bargain of flesh is a bizarre pact between the two – a redrawing of values. They are trading in blood and both lost in a world that is alien and unjust.”
In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare has penned a brassy comedy with a dark centre of racial injustice that transcends both its own time and all time.
This production seeks to embrace both aspects of the play and produce a show loaded with surprises and unexpected twists. It is a fun, exciting, colourful and ultimately haunting take on this extraordinary play.
Directed by Constantine Costi, assisted by Michael Costi, The Merchant of Venice stars Andrew Fraser as Antonio, Geoff Sirmai as Shylock, Tiffany Stoecker as Portia, Emily Sheehan as Nerissa, Harriet Gordon Anderson as Jessica and Tubal, Stephen Lloyd-Coombs as Bassanio and the Prince of Arragon, Ray Mainsbridge as Gratiano, Brendan Cain as Lorenzo and the Prince of Morocco, Jasper Garner Gore as Solanio and Launcelot Gobbo, Serena Weatherall as Salerio and Dimitri Armatas as the Duke.
The Merchant of Venice plays at the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent Street Sydney
18 Feb to 31 March. Performances Friday and Saturday nights 8pm, Sundays 4.30pm.
Tickets $25/$20 conc and groups 10+ $75 family pass (2 adults +2 children)
Bookings www.genesiantheatre.com.au or phone 1300 237 217