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THE HUNCHBACK OF SEVILLE presented by Know Theatre of Cincinnati and UC College-Conservatory of Music through Oct. 24. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
There were many individual elements that I enjoyed about this production. What wasn’t clear to me was the director’s overall concept for the show that unified them.
The ladies of the tower created some fun and zany characters, with Julie Netzer;s Innocenzia as my personal favorite. I snickered every time she closed a door. While the performances are over the top, visually it’s the opposite. All of the female characters are clean and pretty. The deformities, which could be exaggerated for some visual gags, are actually under-played. In the scenes involving 1 and 2, I understood what you were going for with the monotone delivery, but the comic timing wasn’t there to really sell it.
For the guys, Andrew Iannacci’s Christopher Columbus is almost as over-the-top, but he has a strange “self-awareness” quality that I found off-putting. Derek Snow is solid, but Abdul Haseeb seems to be the only normal person on stage. Brandon St. Clair Saunders as Talib Furozh is stuck in the middle, never quite matching the performance level of the ladies.
I did find the set design rather confusing, particularly stage right. Is that an opening to the outside and a door to another room on the same wall?
This play does boast one of the most memorable endings I’ve seen, and the special effects for that were surprising and worked really well.
Overall a fun, but uneven quasi-historical romp.
My rating: 4 out of 5.
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