Pericles, Prince of Tyre | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Pericles, Prince of Tyre 

PERICLES, Prince of Tyre, Shakespeare's Gale Force, at Organic Theater Greenhouse, Lab Theater. Why another Pericles? After all, Greasy Joan & Company revived this slight late Shakespearean romance a mere two months ago. It's hard to imagine a strong demand for a second coming, especially one as uneven as this fustian retread.

Pericles chronicles the travels of a certain Prince of Tyre as, arbitrarily separated from wife and baby daughter, he roams the Aegean, the butt of envy and adversity, for 16 increasingly pointless years. Finally, in scenes too clumsy to belong to the Bard, Pericles is reunited with his devoted Thaisa and with Marina, his invincibly virtuous daughter. But unlike Cymbeline and The Winter's Tale, late-blooming fairy tales in which we really hope for lost children to be restored and faithful lovers rewarded, Pericles' trials and triumphs seem aimless.

There's even less urgency to Tim Goldich's plodding staging. Though the company earns its name, bellowing enough to fill the sails of Pericles' ship, the 12 cast members mangle the play's sporadic poetry and maul its rare comedy. Whatever sincerity Rolfe Sanberg Jr. brings to the title role is undermined by a mush-mouthed delivery; his best lines are lost in his beard. Amy Harmon brings intelligence, if not inspiration, to chaste Marina; and though Jim Morley is a stiff Chorus, he suggests Shakespeare's sly skepticism at the absurd tale spinning of his source, John Gower.

--Lawrence Bommer

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