Theater review: 'Edward II' is a daring production

    “”Edward II”” is the first production of the La Jolla Playhouse’s 2002-03 season, and it leaves the viewer hoping that the rest of the productions will be as powerful and well-done as this one. For those who are offended by sex, violence, homosexuality, drug use and/or nudity, “”Edward II”” is not the play to see. However, it is a wonderful experience for those who are looking for something new and interesting.

    Courtesy of UCSD Theatre and Dance Department

    Bertolt Brecht’s play, which is based on Christopher Marlowe’s earlier work of the same title, looks at the life of King Edward II from the time he took the English crown in 1307 until his death in 1327. This play focuses on Edward’s alleged homosexual relationship with Piers Gaveston and the effect it had on Edward’s reign.

    The costumes and props are wonderfully designed and appropriately placed. While a mixture of classical and modern designs can often distract from the play and leave the viewer feeling disoriented, this play does a marvelous job of blending the two to give it a timeless quality, which leaves the viewer seeing the issues of the play both in the original historical setting and in a more modern setting.

    The acting is extraordinary as well. The actors play off one another well and help strengthen each other’s performances. All of the actors do a wonderful job bringing their characters to life and developing them throughout the course of the plot.

    Worthy of particular mention is Corey Bill, who does an amazing job of portraying Edward and his growth from a love-struck young man to a mature but still confused king. Alex Smith also does a wonderful job as Mortimer, who discovers that he would rather be back in the world of his books, from which he was dragged to help take power from Edward. Simone Moore gives a powerful performance as Queen Anne, though at times her acting is almost a bit overdone. The ensemble adds a new depth to the play that would have otherwise been lacking, although it would have been nice if they could have learned to march together on the same foot.

    While there are plenty of issues that can make people uncomfortable, everything seems appropriate; very little, if any of it, is done purely for shock value. However, it is advised that only the mature and open-minded attend this production. Overall, this is a great play, and the viewer should find it both entertaining and original.

    Remaining performances will be Nov. 14, Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Mandell Weiss Forum Studio. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for UCSD affiliates and $6 for students. Seating is limited, so advanced purchase is highly recommended.

    Edward II

    Starring Simone Moore and Alex Smith

    Runs until Nov. 17.

    $12 general admission, $6 students

    Mandell Weiss Forum Studio

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