Crackling and quick-moving, The Two Gentlemen of Verona may well have been Shakespeare's first play. A seemingly simple tale of shifting devotions among mismatched lovers, it helped launch the genre of rom-com. Yet its delightful madcap surface conceals undercurrents, as its putative hero proves a cad and a faithless friend.
Fiasco Theater's zesty and streamlined six-actor Cymbeline was a highlight of TFANA's 2011 season. In Two Gentlemen, which premiered at Folger Theatre, the company's acute understanding of text, spare design and brilliantly versatile use of props, accessories, original music, and shifting accents combine to create a charming, nuanced and magical experience. Letters fall from the flies, rope-ladders materialize out of nowhere, and a handful of actors transform into outlaws, clowns, servants, and even a grumpy, ungrateful dog.