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Jewel Box Theatre presents Shakespearean farce 'Thee and Thou'



has a negative cumulative effect.

The role of the notorious highwayman, The White Fox, is among the worst written characters, but also one of the best performed, by Bryan Whorton, who delivers a much more subdued, but no less funny, turn as the bandit who decides to impersonate Shakespeare. The character is plagued by inconsistencies though. When with his partner, he seems to be brains of the operation, but when dealing with the actors "? especially Burbage "? he is prone to violent outbursts. Even within scenes he contradicts himself. After assaulting Burbage for trying to dress up his partner as girl for a scene, he comments that that kind of thing should be expected in a theater. Also, his motivations for deciding to disguise himself as The Bard are never clearly explained.

Other standout performances include Danielle Coody as the lovely Agnes Harcastle who pines for the love of Shakespeare and Shawn Hicks as the roguish Will Slye. English accents among the cast are all over the map, but by and large, do little to detract from the piece.

While the play is described as being a love letter to Shakespeare, his portrayal is less than flattering. Played by Joshua Cain, this Shakespeare spends most of the play plagued by a strange malady: he can only speak in rhyming couplets. Cain's performance is reminiscent of some of the sillier Graham Chapman characters from "Monty Python's Flying Circus," and does little to convince the audience of his genius.

As is often the case with Jewel Box productions, the sets were minimal but serviceable and the lighting had two settings: off and on, the latter leaving the stage and much of the audience over-lit. The staging, which included a huge amount of physical comedy and even some sword fights, was very well executed.

The greatest tragedy about this comedy is that it is really funny, but doesn't seem to believe that it is. "Thee and Thou" tries way too hard, and just ends up being overbearing, overcompensating for a deficiency it doesn't have. "Thee and Thou" has all the makings of a great play. With a little more work, it would be one that I would recommend without reservation.

"?Eric Webb


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