The Merchant of Venice | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Merchant of Venice 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Director Barbara Gaines tries moral equivocation to address the most problematic of Shakespeare's problem plays: Shylock is cruel, but the Christians drive him to it. The scene where Scott Jaeck's choleric Antonio spits in Shylock's yarmulke before shoving it on his head is particularly harsh. As Harold Bloom points out, the play only really works if Shylock is a slapstick comic villain, and this handsome but somewhat airless production is far too polite to take that route, leaving us with no one to feel strongly about, except possibly Shylock's anguished daughter. Mike Nussbaum is mostly magnificent as the moneylender, but his multilayered characterization feels out of place in the anti-Semitic minstrel show Shakespeare created. Through 11/12: Wed-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 4 and 8:30 PM, Sun 3 PM. Also 1 PM Wed. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, 312-595-5600. $48-$65.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
April 30 1
Performing Arts
November 12

Popular Stories