Theatre Critic and Journalist

Review: The Malcontent, White Bear Theatre

Review: The Malcontent, White Bear Theatre

Published in Time Out, 28.11.2011

Written in 1603, as Shakespeare worked on Measure for Measure, The Malcontent sees a leader smuggle himself into the society he rules.

Predictably enough, when Duke Altofront (Adam Howden) disguises himself as the misanthropic Malevole, he’s not happy with what he sees. Once-trusted peers set about a-killing and a-cuckolding, sycophants swap sides and lusty singletons get down and dirty.

Rae McKen’s flirtatious production makes sure we know we’re implicated in all this vanity, lust and power-hungry usurpation, throwing a steady stream of winks and raunchy asides our way. It’s a contemporary twist on Elizabethan court entertainment.

However, the spirited performances reduce the play to a parade of archetypes: some even enter to their own signature tune. Gershwyn Eustache makes a commanding villain and there’s droll support from Richard Kiess and Matthew Gibbs as two fey dandies. But Penelope Watson’s twisted period costumes come close to stealing the show.

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