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Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010

‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ at Boulevard Theatre

Theater Review

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Boulevard Theatre’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well is a casual affair, as the rarely produced play is brought to the stage without much costuming. The seats of the intimate studio theater have been planted throughout the performance space, creating a comfortable atmosphere in which to experience one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known pieces. Actors take on the quality of faces in the crowd. Some characters are royalty; others are not. Without much designation between rank and status, the ensemble becomes that much more accessible.

As usual with a cast of this size at a Boulevard show, the levels of talent and experience are mixed. Keeping actors in close proximity to the audience makes the roughness of the production feel captivating and fresh. That being said, there are some truly impressive talents at work here. Sparkling young actress Shannon Nettesheim plays the show’s heroine, Helena, a middle-class girl who is desperately in love with the high-status Bertram, count of Rossillion (Chad Laudonio). There’s an undeniable sweetness about Nettesheim that serves as the central focus of the play.

David Flores makes a typically impressive trip to the stage as the count’s mentor, Parolles. Relative newcomer Hugh Blewett also makes an appearance of note, showing considerable talent as Lord Dumaine. The role doesn’t seem significant on the page, but Blewett does an admirable job of making it memorable.

Boulevard Theatre’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well runs through March 14.

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