All’s well doesn’t really end very well, or begin very well, or middle very well either. On a night when all New York homosexuals were celebrating the historic Gay Marriage victory on Gay Pride weekend, I’m stuck seeing this disappointing. frustrating muddle of a impossible play. Not happy.
“All’s Well That Ends Well” is a famous line and a great title but the buck stops there. I, an inveterate Bardolator, have never seen this play staged. Ever. And as I questioned other playgoers on that lovely summer night in Central Park where it was being performed in the equally lovely Delacorte theater, no one had seen it either. Yuck. No wonder this play is never done.
This premise is just unbelievable. And Daniel Sullivan, one of the great stage directors, we have in our midst, does not know WHAT to do with this mess of a play. So he creates an even bigger mess.
There’s a wordless, but beautiful ball scene in the very beginning of the evening, and the waltz that most of the supernumeraries do, is stunning. Elegant, peaceful, and a lie, since nothing in the succeeding production leaves up to this charming moment.
And Annie Parisse’s is no help. Said by all in the play to be a woman who is beyond admirable and by what in today’s terms would be phrased “charismatic”, she exhibits none of these qualities. And her emotional range stays the same as any forgettable TV actress, which evidently she was on “Law and Order.” “All’s Well That Ends Well” was such a boring disaster, it made me long for “Law and Order.”
And that’s not right the desired reaction, I presume.
But it shows, that,yes, even Shakespeare could write a bad play.
Even “Double Falsehood which was recently deemed part of the Canon (Shakespeare’s official ouevre), had moments, speeches of great intensity and poetry, that for sure felt Shakespearean. “All’s Well That Ends Well” has none.
It proved that, yes, Shakespeare, too, could be a Hollywood hack, were he alive today. He would re-writes. He would re-cycle. He would do TV movies.
“All’s Well that End’s Well” recycles “Pericles” another one of Shakespeare’s worst. They call them “Problem Plays”, and it also re-uses much of “Winter’s Tale”(another problem) and “Much Ado About Nothing”, which is saved by the introduction of Beatrice and Benedict.
“All’s Well That Ends Well” is a Shakespearean garbage heap.
And the mediocre Annie Parrisse as a Shakespearean leading lady. No thank you very much.