The Merchant of Venice | Mayslake Peabody Estate | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Merchant of Venice The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Wednesdays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 19 2012

Respectable but uninspired, this First Folio Theatre production downplays the ugliness of Shakespeare's notoriously anti-Semitic comedy by (a) lightening up on evil Jewish moneylender Shylock and (b) making it clear early on that the titular merchant, Antonio, is a bigot despite his attractive qualities. Still, the Jew-baiting remains. By the end, Shakespeare clearly expects us to be rooting for the merchant and roaring with laughter at the fact that Shylock's life and livelihood have been utterly destroyed. It doesn't help that there's so little chemistry between the lovers in this production: it's hard to believe that Kevin McKillip's Bassanio and Melanie Keller's Portia care about each other, or that Cassidy Stirtz's Jessica would run off with Luke Daigle's Lorenzo. —Jack Helbig

Price: $26-$37

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