The Globe and Mail
Watching Leon Rubin’s triumphant production of Shakespeare’s so-called problem play Measure for Measure at Stratford, you have to wonder what exactly is everybody’s problem with it and why isn’t this absorbing and provocative play produced more often?
With Measure for Measure (not seen in the festival since 1992), Richard Monette left it in extremely gifted hands. This is a production where all the elements come together: a clear directorial vision, nimbly articulated by John Pennoyer’s modern designs and brought to vivid, heart-warming life by a first-rate cast that includes Jonathan Goad, Dana Green and Thom Marriott.
What makes this Measure for Measure tempting indeed is the confidence and clarity with which Leon Rubin approaches such a dicey play. Wisely, that initial tableaux gave way to a thoughtful and sparkling reading of a play set in today’s world and dressed by Pennoyer in everyday “urban camouflage” to look the part.
It’s a measure of Rubin’s control that the production’s exuberant air sits very comfortably with its heavier moments. Each moment has its place: each sentiment is compellingly expressed and illuminated (literally) under Robert Thomson’s lighting design.
Note for note, this Measure for Measure is the best Shakespeare at Stratford this season.
A dazzling, totally absorbing evening of theatre.
… it’s a pivotal scene; if a director can make it work, the rest of the play should fly. And Leon Rubin and his superb cast do just that.
This is wonderful work. And director Leon Rubin helps in a variety of ways.
Stratford has had a measure of success with Shakespeare this summer and now has a totally successful Measure.
Detroit Free Press
Measure can be a coldly intellectual play but Rubin sends the blood of life coursing through it.
This production measures out its pleasures in abundance.
The Hamilton Spectator
At Straford, Leon Rubin’s clean, uncluttered reading of Shakespeare’s text, coupled with some specious, but nevertheless workable conceits, make Measure for Measure a moving evening of theatre.
Rubin’s production focuses on the text… the entire production sizzles with dramatic integrity.
It’s one thing to flaunt sex in the face of the public. It’s quite another to make it exciting and relevant.
Grosse Point News
One of the special joys of sampling the Stratford Festival’s repertory is to encounter from time to time a flash of absolute brilliance that stands out, even among offerings that are almost invariably of a high quality level.
In the last play to open this season, the Festival provides such an experience – a hugely entertaining and engrossing performance of Shakespeare’s dark comedy Measure for Measure.
The subject invites the exploration of all the bizarre behaviour encountered in a society where no holds are barred – with the inevitable humour that the situations allow. The performance shines in both regards.
It is a pleasure to report that this is such an outstanding production since it has a special status in the Stratford program… a great performance.
… audiences will find themselves chuckling, and blushing, through this dark comedy, directed by Leon Rubin.
It the jokes and racy banter don’t pull you in, the cast surely will.
Although there’s lots of laughter and joking around in Measure for Measure, the play isn’t afraid to let its dark side shine.
Such powerful scenes bring substance to the play.