Set by by William Shakespeare in Vienna and moved by director Robert Falls to a sexually permissive and corrupt New York City of the 1970’s, the play was originally labeled as a comedy but later re-categorized as a “problem” play.
Cold and dark, it mixes farce with tragedy and mercy is tripped up by supposed justice as the play's hypocritical characters reveal their true nature.
In the Goodman production, characters adopt stereotypical accents and behaviors.
James Newcomb as “Duke,” the city’s ruler or mayor, adopts a fatherly Irish accent when he dons a disguise as a priest in order to see how the people he left in power, particularly his sanctimonious deputy, Angelo (Jay Whittaker), behave when they think he has left the city.
Sean Fortunato does a likeable, Brooklyn-style Officer Elbow. Kevin Fugaro as Claudio, a man condemned to death for impregnating fiancé Juliet before they were officially married, has a somewhat Italian accent.
Isabella (Alejandra Escalante), Claudio’s sister, is a very righteous novice nun. She attempts to intervene on his behalf but Angelo wants her body, not her pleas.
Pulling it together is Walter Spangler’s scenic design which sets the right tone for Fall’s dark, Gotham feel.
“Measure for Measure” runs now through April 14, 2013. Tickets $25-$86. For tickets and more information visit Goodman and call 312-443-3800. Goodman Theatre is as 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60601.