It was well over a month ago now, but for our 7th wedding anniversary, Steve and I headed west to Stratford, Ontario. Neither of us had seen a play at the Stratford Festival for a few years, so we decided to take in last season's production of Merchant of Venice starring one of Canada's greatest actors', Graham Greene. The show and Greene's interpretation of Shylock had received mixed reviews but since I love both the play and the actor, I had to see for myself.
This production was very well done. The acting, staging and set were all great although some of the actors could have been louder. We were in the back row on the main floor and we had to struggle to hear some of the dialogue, which is usually not a problem in the Festival Theatre. Graham Greene's Shylock was excellent. He played the part with just the right combination of bitterness, courage, strength and weakness. Scott Wentworth's Antonio was also fantastic although he was one of the actors who just wasn't loud enough. I suspected that he was suffering from a cold based on the quality and strength of his voice. By far the best part of the production were the costumes. From the main characters down to the servants and maids the costumes were perfectly representative and simply stunning to look at. All in all, we enjoyed the performance.
Before the show, we walked around the downtown area and had a fantastic lunch at Bentley's. This is a great pub with fantastic decor and wonderful food. (Thanks for the tip Elizabeth!) I had an excellent forest mushroom pizza with a lovely glass of Ontario Chardonnay. After the show, we took a quick stroll along the Avon River, home to dozens of ducks and swans. And oh, look! I had my camera with me. :)