Emilia Di Luca
Who says a lawyer’s day is all work and no play? Nightwood Theatre and a cast of lawyers from firms across Toronto say just the opposite in their adaption of Love’s Labour’s Lost. Shakespeare’s comedy is Nightwood Theatre’s sixth annual fundraiser, known as The Lawyer Show.
With the creative direction of co-directors Michelle Alexander and Kelly Thornton of Nightwood Theatre, the Shakespearean classic gets a few twists. The play, originally set in Spain, now takes place in 1930s Boston at Harvard University where fraternity brothers (Caolan Moore, Dany Horovitz, Rory Peter Andrew McGovern and Fredrick Schumann) swear a particular oath: to never fall in love. Of course, when the four German women (Tamara Zdravković, Bronwyn Martin, Christine Marchetti and Satinder Besrai) arrive at the fraternity house, things change.
Among the talented cast, Danny Kastner delivers a breakout performance as Don Armando, the flamboyant Spanish student who has fallen in love with Jaquenetta (Nicole Bailey).
With musical numbers and a slew of accents (Southern, Canadian, American, German, Spanish, among others), the play shows off the cast’s talent and hard work. However, the variety of accents, plot twists and periodic numbers were a little overwhelming at times.
In contrast, the play’s set and costume designer Ashley Westlake showed off the versatility of her simple set, composed of blocks and projected images. The set transformed from a frat house to a college library with ease and style.
Alexander perfectly describes her cast as ‘actorneys,’ and they prove their case. My favorite scene is the one where the frat brothers spy on one another in the library. The scene doesn’t have a musical number or obvious plot changes. Rather, the audience focuses on the grace with which the actors deliver their complex lines. It’s when the audience forgets that these actors work full-time as lawyers that their true talents shine.
The Lawyer Show runs until May 30 at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. A silent auction to support Nightwood Theatre, Canada’s national women’s theatre, is also taking place. For more information and tickets, visit http://www.nightwoodtheatre.net/index.php/lawyer_show.