Until October 20, the award-winning comedy Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann-Marie MacDonald will be at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria. Directed by Ron Jenkins (The Trespassers, Any Night and BASH’d for the Belfry), Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) stars Daniela Vlaskalic (The Drowning Girls), Michael Dufays, Nicola Elbro, Pippa Mackie and Jameson Matthew Parker (Red).
Lovelorn academic Constance Ledbelly is magically transported into the middle of Shakespeare’s Othello and Romeo & Juliet. She is convinced that these two masterpieces started life as comedies. The mysterious Gustav Manuscript holds the key to her thesis and if she can decipher it maybe she’ll earn the respect of her colleagues and the love of her double-crossing mentor, Professor Claude Night. In this delicious romp through time and space Constance quickly discovers that Romeo, Juliet, Othello, Iago, and Desdemona ain’t what they used to be and that they may hold the key to her happiness.
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) is a comedic masterpiece. While never undermining the serious themes of the original plays, MacDonald skillfully introduces humour into Othello and Romeo & Juliet by playing on the fate of each character and injecting a wonderful fool of Constance Ledbelly into the action. Daniela Vlaskalic hits every note, embodying the hopelessness of Ledbelly in such a way that the audience immediately gravitates to her. I really enjoyed that each of the other actors took on two characters, one from Othello and one from Romeo & Juliet. The connection between the actors allowed them to work really well as lovers, friends, backstabbers, and antagonists all at the same time.
Without question, I would go back to see this play again. Everything about this play added to the fun of it. The background full of books kept the audience engaged with Constance’s need to get home while never taking away from the new places she was transported to. The absolutely gorgeous costumes fit perfectly with MacDonald’s manipulations of each character. Desdemona’s corseted outfit without the expected skirt that added to her desire to get involved in the action. Juliet’s flowing dresses, and later cross dressing attire, added to the sensuality of her character without going overboard for the time.
Tickets for Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) are $25 to $40 (plus GST) at 250-385-6815 or online at https://tickets.belfry.bc.ca.
[Play description via press release]