THIS CASTLE by Patti Powell, choreographed by Claudia Moore (MOonhORsE Dance Theatre). Runs to November 6. See Continuing, page 84, for details. Rating: NN Rating: NNNNN
The bard can be revised in all sorts of ways, but This Castle , a dance/theatre piece written by Patti Powell and choreographed by Claudia Moore , fails to find an emotional throughline for a show whose speeches are mostly a Shakespearean collage. The setting's a hotel basement where a night porter (Soulpepper's William Webster , adept at speaking the text) greets five figures who recite lines from and - usually more vitally - dance into life a number of Shakespeare's most famous characters.
Powell's given the text some clever twists, such as changing gender in As You Like It's seven ages of man speech, a neat intro to the 80-minute work that presents the audience with the schoolgirl, the madonna and the seer.
But the segments that follow don't flow effectively despite the performers' efforts.
They're all theatrical types, with expressive faces and sinuous bodies, performing Moore's sometimes ritualized gestures and articulating the lines with various degrees of success.
It's fascinating, for instance, to hear Miko Sobreira 's Macbeth switch from English to Spanish, and watch his physical, vibrantly sensual interpretations of that role and Hamlet.
Martha Randall 's finger puppets have charm, and she seems utterly weightless as the drowning Ophelia. Moore defines both Gertrude and Lady Macbeth in terms of words and movement, while Lin Snelling and Jennifer Dick also offer committed performances.
But the show is a series of isolated moments, only some of which resonate. It needs a tighter framework - not necessarily a narrative one, but, rather, an expressive one that would open up the figures' inner lives and speak to us more than sporadically.