As part of the 2016 Actors’ Renaissance Season at the American Shakespeare Center‘s Blackfriars Playhouse, the company is performing Love for Love by William Congreve. This restoration comedy is pretty silly, full of bawdy jokes, laughs, and slapstick.
Chris Johnston does a wonderful job as Valentine, an impoverished son of a wealthy merchant, who loves Angelica (played with smart aloofness by Lexie Braverman) but lacks the estate to woo her. (Writers would love this, as there are some great lines after Valentine announces that he’s going to earn his living by becoming a poet: his friend Scandal says “Turn pimp, flatterer, quack, lawyer, parson, be chaplain to an atheist, or stallion to an old woman, anything but
poet. A modern poet is worse, more servile, timorous, and fawning,
than any I have named:”) Tattle is also very funny, played by John Harrell, especially in his dalliance with young Prue (Lauren Ballard).
Perhaps the most memorable character, though, is Foresight, Prue’s father, played hysterically by Aidan O’Reilly. He’s a caricature of an astrologer, full of wonderful mocking cliches of a fortuneteller, complete with long gray hair, a wizard’s coat, and meaningless astrological jargon.
The audience last night was very appreciative, and the show certainly is a laugh riot. Just one more week in the season, though, so you’d better hurry to see it.