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Friday, March 21, 2014

Up Close with Mozart and Salieri

World’s Stage dramatizes Peter Shaffer's 'Amadeus'

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The World’s Stage Theatre Company conjures a solidly enjoyable drama with its latest, Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. The story of genius and jealousy resonates through Villa Terrace this month with lush costuming and makeup that feels right at home in the historic space. Director Catie O’Donnell brings the very real, visceral emotional side of the story to the stage.

Mack Heath plays Salieri, celebrated in his time but forgotten in the march of history. Heath gives an interesting presence to a man denied lasting greatness. The intimate space allows him the ability to speak very delicate lines with subtlety just above a whisper. There’s an intricate brutality to it. 

It is remarkably difficult to do justice to the legend of Amadeus’ title character. Jared McDaris strides about in the role with a playfulness that contrasts starkly with the character’s more somber moments. McDaris is at his best when amplifying the composer’s passions as an artist. Also of note are McDaris’ interactions with Gretchen Mahkorn in the role of his wife, Constanze. Mahkorn remains poised, even when things seem to be falling apart. She does considerable justice to a seedy scene between her and Heath as well.

Also of note are Hayley Cotton, Tawnie Thompson and Danielle Levings—a remarkably well-modulated trio in the role of the Venticelli. Striking a balance between personality and functionality as a kind of chorus, they fill in for the general public with its interest in gossip and the lives of others. They’re quite fun to watch.

The World’s Stage’s production of Amadeus runs through March 23, at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Ave. For tickets, visit twstheatre.com.