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The Two Gentlemen of Verona (TFANA)

Members say: Delightful, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Funny
87
Critics
86
24 reviews
Members
89
8 reviews
 

Theatre For A New Audience presents Fiasco Theater's stripped-down staging of Shakespeare's original romantic comedy.

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In 'Two Gentlemen,' Fiasco Theater’s acute understanding of text, spare design and brilliantly versatile use of props, accessories, original music, and shifting accents combine to create a highly theatrical experience. Letters fall from the flies, rope-ladders materialize out of nowhere, and six actors transform into outlaws, clowns, servants, and even a grumpy, ungrateful dog.

 

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Reviews (32)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
86
Avg Score

90
The New York Times

"With impeccable timing, Fiasco Theater’s frolicking production of 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' opened on Thursday night...Fiasco finds a beguiling continuity in the play’s erratic behavior...This production sees in the text a mirror for the irrationality that comes with being young, mercurial and at the mercy of metabolic changes that the sober mind can’t begin to make sense of." Full Review

75
New York Post

"The comedy’s main claim to fame is that it’s widely assumed to be Shakespeare’s first play. Quality-wise, though, it’s not that great. Yet that seems to have inspired rather than deterred co-directors Jessie Austrian and Ben Steinfeld. They started by trimming the fat, cutting supporting characters so the show zips along at just over two hours...This accessible, fun 'Gentlemen' makes him feel like one of our own." Full Review

80
Time Out New York

"But the real accomplishment is in giving the main plot a sense of substance...Even the infamously unplayable final scene—with its bizarrely fast forgiveness for heinous behavior, including an attempted rape—almost works. By then, Fiasco has inspired our indulgence. The company seeks and finds beauty in the literary discard pile." Full Review

90
Theatermania

"The simple story leaves much for its interpreters to reconcile. But in the style that has been slowly charming all of New York City, the folks of Fiasco do so with a whimsical levity, a self-deprecating sense of humor, and a stage that's been stripped down to its skivvies. The company pares down 'The Two Gentleman of Verona' to its barest bones, with just an encompassing mosaic of crumpled love letters to set the Italian scene." Full Review

85
Theatre's Leiter Side

"The Fiasco’s more orthodox approach to Shakespeare's text brings out deeper values, and while I don’t think it has the makings of a commercial success, it’s perfectly suited to the intimate TFANA environment, where it’s kicking the new season off to a promising start. " Full Review

70
AM New York

"The production is pleasant but rather bloodless. Though hardly the Bard's deepest work, 'Verona' does contain some dark undertones (Proteus nearly rapes Silvia before he is stopped by Valentine) which are here overlooked...These issues aside, the troupe deserves much credit for presenting the rarely-seen play, and I hope they will keep churning out simple but imaginative productions in the years ahead." Full Review

95
New York Daily News

"The Fiasco Theater’s brisk take on 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' is as bold and splashy as it is joyous. The troupe nips and tucks and gives this early Shakespeare romantic comedy the streamlined treatment... In lieu of of fancy trickery, there’s playful, low-tech stagecraft, like a delightful explosion of stationery." Full Review

85
Talkin' Broadway

"Co-directed with great comic flair, this early effort by the Bard is filled with themes and characterizations that would come to greater fruition later in his career. So even though this is not Shakespeare at his best, what fun it is to see the budding elements of what would blossom down the road...as welcome as the long-awaited springtime weather." Full Review

85
Theater Pizzazz

"As bitter a pill as it is for contemporary audiences to swallow, Fiasco’s lighthearted treatment of his egregious behavior makes for an airy and amusing play...And that’s the whole play: it’s earnest, uplifting and light as a feather...But, coupled with Shakespeare’s beautiful verse and dialog, the experience is neither trite nor cringe-worthy." Full Review

90
CurtainUp

"Fiasco's The Two Gentlemen of Verona reworks Shakespeare's first romantic comedy and turns it into a zany caper. It fits the spring season and will put a spring into everybody's step who visits the center in the next few weeks...Fiasco takes the play's demerits in stride and succeeds by an economic and light handling of the plotline." Full Review

90
Manhattan Digest

"Cute and clever directorial touches including a human canine, a silly 'female' maid, and nicely performed madrigals add to the fun and frivolity of this romantic comedy. Fiasco is unquestionably an antonym to the excellence that this company employs...and are continuing to uphold their quality reputation in this thoroughly enjoyable and accessible classic." Full Review

90
Stage Buddy

"An utter delight, Fiasco Theatre has achieved a level of accessibility for Shakespeare I have not seen before. The language is Elizabethan, but the execution is pure contemporary high school comedy." Full Review

90
CHARGED.fm

"The cast of 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' does manage to put on a charming and immensely entertaining performance that goes far beyond what the text may have imagined...A potent blend of amusing and heartfelt, the play is a great choice for audiences familiar with the standard Shakespearean comedies and ready to see how much more the Bard has in store." Full Review

85
Entertainment Weekly

"Fiasco Theatre are content to demolish that fourth wall, and it serves this upbeat, charming take on Shakespeare’s early-life comedy quite well...You may not be in the midst of Fiasco’s finest hour(s) to date, but their unbridled enthusiasm is utterly infectious. Time goes by with thee most agreeably." Full Review

85
Edge New York

"With a cast of six playing multiple roles, the play is trim and fast moving. Although I can't imagine a real-life situation that would allow for such a speedy forgiveness of a faithless friend who is such a total cad he would have one exiled just to steal his girl, theater is not real life. So for an evening, 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' is a very fine diversion." Full Review

90
ZEALnyc

"It is truly a delight to watch a tight-knit ensemble of actors take such obvious joy in performing with one another, while simultaneously sharing their enthusiasm and skill with an appreciative audience...A tightly paced production that is rigorously attentive to the demands of the text while managing to create an atmosphere of seeming spontaneity that both charms and entertains." Full Review

85
The Fifth Wall

"'2 Gents' is better taken on its own terms or not at all. So Fiasco does that, simply, directly, and brilliantly. Since the verse is obviously written by a rookie, they deliver it in a prosy cadence, focusing on the sentence rather than the line or the idea. The comedians don’t attempt to wring laughs from the quibbles, while the romantics round and shape their roles by adding individuality to the types." Full Review

95
The Washington Post

for a previous production "Fiasco is doing justice to Shakespeare in a wholly and excitingly contemporary way. In these young players’ hands, demystification is an art. Fiasco does not resort to high-concept Shakespeare, a practice that has reached epidemic proportions at some classical companies. Among its tools are careful compression, deep investigation of character, a pleasure in the gestalt of ensemble work, and a firm belief that the plays are meant to be, well, accessible fun." Full Review

75
Talkin' Broadway

for a previous production ""The Two Gentlemen of Verona" has never been considered one of William Shakespeare's better plays, with its duplicitous heroes whose brotherly affection for each other interferes with their various romances. The Fiasco Theater has staged a mildly entertaining version of the play that manages to smooth the rough edges of the plot through the efforts of six energetic and flexible (physically and otherwise) actors." Full Review

90
DC Theatre Scene

for a previous production "Some companies perform "Two Gentlemen of Verona" for no more than its historical position as an early – perhaps the earliest – Shakespeare play, which shows themes which will appear in later, better plays. Fiasco Theater has a better idea: a clear, simple production which poses a possible answer to the Two Gents dilemma…one which issues a profound commentary on the nature of love." Full Review

100
DC Metro Theater Arts

for a previous production "Start with Shakespeare. Add some very clever dramaturgy, cut a few characters, and incorporate a gifted group of artists and you have a magical night in the theatre. The D.C. debut of Fiasco Theater’s production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a delight. The astonishing success of Fiasco Theatre, is richly deserved...This production takes Shakespeare out of the realm of ‘Stuff You Need to Do to Be Intelligent’ and into the land of ‘Wow! This is Really Fun!’" Full Review

95
Washington City Paper

for a previous production "Not since Gossip Girl went off the air has Washington been entertained by such young, attractive, well-dressed backstabbing New Yorkers...The result is Shakespeare at its most relatable, in a production that presents Two Gents as the best play for teenagers that the Bard ever laid upon a stage. Screw Romeo and Juliet. Star-crossed lovers seem so 16th century compared to these vengeful BFFs." Full Review

100
MD Theatre Guide

for a previous production "On stage is a sparkling production of his first play, in the D.C. debut of New York’s young Fiasco Theater. The company’s name isn’t just self-effacing, it’s inaccurate. There is nothing in their brisk approach that resembles any shambling disaster. On the contrary, it is as buoyant and direct a presentation of the romantic comedy as you could hope for, bubbling with energy and verve to keep the prose – even in the writer’s developmental stage – alive four centuries hence." Full Review

85
Washingtonian

for a previous production ""Two Gents" is a frothy confection of a play that goes down easily. It’s even more of a joy in the hands of New York company Fiasco Theater , who have delivered a charming, breezy—and speedy—production. The play, with a spare set and several actors in multiple roles, moves at a smooth clip, occasionally interrupted with bursts of song. Go into this Two Gents for the laughs, rather than any particular sense of moral justice, and this production definitely delivers." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
89
Avg Score

89
Delightful, Quirky, Refreshing, Entertaining, Fun

See it if You're already a fan of Fiasco Theater's style (it was my first experience though & I saw this production many times & enjoyed each time).

Don't see it if You want your classic productions to remain as you've always seen them before. You don't like clowning or plays with songs.

82
Clever, Delightful, Brooklyn

See it if Don't fear BK, there's good theater to b had there! In this case, the Fiasco group were there and if Chemistry is all then they r Everything

Don't see it if Hey it's Shakespeare, if U don't like iambic penta., skip it. Same if don't like using your imagination to fill in the open walled scenery?

100
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You love Shakespeare's comedies

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare

80
Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Romantic, Great staging

See it if you enjoy Shakespeare and want to see a lively reimagined version of this play.

Don't see it if you aren't a Shakespeare fan.

96
Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting

See it if you are looking for some perfectly conveyed Shakespeare. Fiasco gives a beautiful, nuanced production of what is a fairly lightweight play.

Don't see it if you're expecting super-standard Shakespeare.

90
Delightful, Must see, Refreshing, Riveting, Hilarious

See it if You like Shakespeare or comedy

Don't see it if the idea of going to a play makes you want to vomit.

91
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a completely original and modern understanding of a Shakespearean classic.

Don't see it if you hate Shakespeare.

84
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy shakespeare and a funny re-interpretation.

Don't see it if You don't like shakespeare