If you love classical theatre, parks, and live in or around Manhattan and you had best acquaint yourself with the Hudson Warehouse theatre company. Summer after summer they perform professional level theatre for free in Riverside Park and this season is shaping up to be their best yet. Nestled between their two Shakespeare shows, Hudson Warehouse will performÂ The Rover for the remainder of July. Simply put, it should not be missed.
The plot Â follows three sisters, Florinda, doomed to unwantedÂ marriage,Â Hellena, Â doomed to aÂ nunnery, and Valeria who proposes they escape to NewÂ Orleans Mardi Gras for one lastÂ spectacularÂ adventure.
The show has an amazing energy andÂ rhythm. The playwright’s poetry is witty, cleaver, quick, and far more overtlyÂ lascivious than I’d ever expect from a classical piece. I cannot stress enough how incredibly strong this cast is. There is no weak link. Jon Sprik (the righteous lover Belville) is dashing and stalwart, but keeps the character’s troubled moments interesting. Elizabeth Alice Murray’s Angellica is grand and potent. Her final scene keeps you on the edge your seat. Sydney Stanton brings Hellena to life with such energy and passion it’s hard not to fall in love with her yourself. And of course the Rover himself, Willmore (Chris Behan) glides through charm, flipping to fiendish, darting to dashing, and back toÂ lechery so swiftly you won’t know what hit you. I could literally fill up this review with wonderful things to say about each and every cast member.
I really have to praise the director, Jesse Michael Mothershed for not letting a single element of the show blend into the background. It takes so much effort to take into account every aspect of production and flesh them out. The pacing? Great. Costumes? A characterÂ themselves. The fight choreography? Cinema quality. Â And even though there was one scene where I felt the tone was out of place for the overall mood of the show, I credit the director for having made a specific choice.
Go see it.
The Rover runsÂ Thursdays – Sundays at the upper west side’s Riverside Park (west 89th street and Riverside drive) at 6:30 PM through August 5th.