Cymbeline proves to be a technical and emotional success.
Director Michael J. Arndt consistently produces above-university-level work which constantly challenges his student actors. For this production, Arndt has brought on a few of the prominent members of Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival: Jason D. Rennie (fight choreographer), Todd Lanker (assistant director), and Christopher Hoag (composer) to further the level of professionalism.
Within the two-and-a-half hours of this production, the audience is taken on an adventure filled with lost children, mistaken identity, mysterious prophecy, magical intervention, lost love, and of course…evil stepmothers.
The show is a tad campy. But campy is good (Jordan Erickson provides many of these moments). The show is a bit over-the top. But over-the-top is good (as Cloten, Kyle Poppert and Anna Demaria as The Queen are this and then some), however, this show also provides true and genuine emotional moments, executed beautifully by Mario Granados (Belarius).
As one of Shakespeare’s final plays, Cymbeline is often compared to a greatest hits album in that all of Shakespeare’s tried and true plot points, characters, and clever quips and quibbles are mixed in within this play. This reviewer would agree as there is something for everyone.
Each actor buys into their own character’s journey and what comes across, onstage, is a fairly even showing of quality acting (notable mentions include Chris Clyne as Cymbeline, Dylan Iannolo as Pisanio, Cristian Lipps as Iachimo).
Bravos to the technical aspects of this production. Newly-hired professor Andrea Heilman provides a multi-angled, flexible set that is moved via the cast to form the multiple locations within the play. Costumes (by Professor Noelle Raffy) are eclectic yet come together to form a unique blending that creates a worldly and timeless atmosphere. Bo Tindell’s light design complements and adds subtle color and nuances to Heilman’s angular set. Hoag’s original musical score adds lush transitions with the scene changes and supports many of the monologues and emotional moments.
Rounding out the cast are the two lost lovers Francisco Hermosillo III (Leonatus) and Danika Elvine (Imogen), Ruth Smitherson and Jacob White (two entertaining “stage hands”), the formidable Rachel Johnson (Soothsayer), a commanding Mayhar Mirzazadeh (Caius), the scene-stealing Janelle Detina (Doctor), the dry delivery of Jonathan Irwin (Guiderius), the professional Bridget De Maria (Arviraga), Jessica Brockway (Philaria), Will Pena (Frenchman/Goaler), Fernando Vasquez Jr. (Spaniard/Roman Captain), Peter Johnson (Dutchman/British Captain), Brooke St. John (Dorothy), Shayley Shimkus (Helen/Mother), Will Haddock (Gentleman/Sicilius), Gabrielle Reublin and Diego Neira (Ensemble).
“Cymbeline” plays through November 19, 2017 and performs at the Blackbox Theatre on the campus of California Lutheran University. Tickets are $10. For information and/or reservations, please call (805)493-3452. For dates and showtimes, see the VC On Stage Calendar.