REVIEW ROUNDUP: Miles Anderson Opens in The Madness of George III at the Old Globe
The production stars Miles Anderson in the title role, and features Michael Stewart Allen (Fox), Shirine Babb (Lady Pembroke), Donald Carrier (Sheridan), Andrew Dahl (Prince of Wales), Grayson DeJesus (Ramsden), Ben Diskant (Greville), Craig Dudley (Dundas), Christian Durso (Braun), Robert Foxworth (Dr. Willis), Kevin Hoffmann (Duke of York), Andrew Hutcheson (Fortnum), Charles Janasz (Thurlow), Joseph Marcell (Sir George Baker), Steven Marzolf (Captain Fitzroy), Jordan McArthur (Papandiek), Brooke Novak (Margaret Nicholson), Ryman Sneed (Maid), Adrian Sparks (Sir Lucas Pepys, Sir Boothby Skrymshir), Emily Swallow (Queen Charlotte), Bruce Turk (Dr. Richard Warren), and Jay Whittaker (William Pitt) with Catherine Gowl, Aubrey Saverino and Bree Welch (Ensemble).
The creative team includes Ralph Funicello (scenic design), Clancy Steer (costume design), Alan Burrett (lighting design), and Christopher R. Walker (sound design and music).
Critics from the dailies and Variety have weighed in on the production and there's unanimity to the praise of Anderson's performance and the show's visuals. But, reviewers are diverging on the success of Noble's overall production.
Among the reviews are:
Los Angeles Times
Theater review: The Madness of George III at the Old Globe
"As portrayed by Miles Anderson, Britain's King George (he of the breakaway Colonies) is a genial sort, if a bit full of himself."
"The forthrightness with which Anderson conveys this suffering is touching, but it can't fully register because everything around him is false. Both "George" and "Lear" are directed by Adrian Noble, head of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1991-2003 and [...] he seems intent merely on squeezing out laughs."
San Diego Union-Tribune
Crazy for Madness of George III
"The Globe's eye-pleasing and expertly acted confection, directed with a brisk wit by festival artistic chief Adrian Noble, draws laughs but doesn't always draw blood."
"Anderson, a colleague of Noble's from the director's time at the helm of the Royal Shakespeare Company (and before), takes the audience on a scarifying tour of George's descent into hysteria and despair, abetted by such health-care horrors as bloodletting and blistering. (The treatments make those mythical "death panels" sound like sweet relief.)"
The Madness of George III at the Old Globe Theatre
"Noble's staging is majestic and thrilling, a triumph of pageantry at the service of contemplation. Entrances explode through a semi-circle of mirrored doors amidst large bursts of George Frideric Handel, often the Fireworks or Water music. Splendid period costumes by Deirdre Clancy flavor the stage picture in exquisite detail and Alan Burrett's lighting seems to blossom or wither in exact time with the pulse of the piece."
"Miles Anderson plays the title role with a vast range of effects all ordered and precise. He is equally as imposing as he is frail and vulnerable and he is always, in public or in private, plausible and consistent."
Variety [subscription required]
The Madness of George III
"Noble never underestimates his audience's willingness or ability to follow the complex, multilevel affairs of a long-ago state. Both the personal drama of a mysteriously ailing monarch at the mercy of ignorant physicians, and the illness' political ramifications threatening to bring down a government, are lucidly played out. Nearly three hours fly by in a rush of delicious plotting and tart dialogue."
"Anderson's turn is the production's anchor. Having established the king as a preening know-all whose authority is unquestioned -- and that unfortunate colonial business a decade ago is not to be mentioned, he thanks you -- Anderson brings him down by inches, Lear-like, into a gibbering wreck engaging our active sympathy. Even the rabidest opponents of inherited monarchy will be moved to pity as he's prodded and tortured by meddling medicos, who use everything but science to effect a cure."
"Noble's sole miscalculation is the sharply timed opening and slamming of designer Ralph Funicello's eight Mylar-treated doors to transition between scenes, a tiresomely self-conscious device eventually serving to undercut the mood. [...] But any sameness in movement patterns is offset by the use of the entire playhouse to envelop us in the pageantry and intrigue. A rare entertainment, indeed."