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Timon
of Athens

April 24

June 10, 2012

in CST's Courtyard Theater

by William Shakespeare
directed by Barbara Gaines

Critical Acclaim


“Highly Recommended. Director Barbara Gaines' fast-moving, ingenious, deftly contemporized production arrives on the stage bearing the star power of Ian McDiarmid. With a slyly impish bearing and an impressive level of physical agility and energy, McDiarmid brings an intriguing blend of decency and shallowness, effete swagger and self-deceptive blindness to his canny portrayal. Gaines is up to her well-honed storytelling tricks here—not only choosing a play ideally fit for our times, but deftly sharpening its edges.”


“A rich portrait of the consequence of the world on man...one keeps leaning into McDiarmid's quirky and undeniably arresting performance. McDiarmid reads no line as you would expect it to be read. His late-in-the-play madness feels authentic and earned, and there is something in the way this experienced and fully consumed actor translates this language into colloquial expression. ”


“A good show requires verve and imagination, which Barbara Gaines possesses in hyperabundance. What brings her idea to life is the boldness of her theatrical gestures, coupled with the clarity of her thinking. She and Mr. McDiarmid have trimmed Shakespeare's text...compressed and reshaped [it] in such a way as to give it the shadowless simplicity of a fable..You'll feel it like a sucker punch. Don't ask—you'll want to be surprised—but make sure that you get to your seat on time.”


“Actor Ian McDiarmid elegantly captures both the comedy and tragedy of the titular character's experiences. ”


      Highly Recommended! Director Barbara Gaines takes this play into modern times and it works flawlessly. An amazing piece of drama—I will not give it all away, but it truly shows how money can change the life of a man, any man! As always CST has some of the finest of Chicago's actors. Timon is masterfully played by Ian McDiarmid...a fantastic actor who brings a great deal to this character who goes through some major life changes...His work is too good to be missed. ”


“A must-see! Given the timeliness of this work, it's almost as though someone resurrected the bard and had him write a brand new play for the 21st century. McDiarmid turns in a superb performance. You might not ever have a chance to see it performed again, and you'll almost certainly never see it as well-adapted as Chicago Shakes has done here. ”

“The first act is easily one of the most enthralling, ravishing and fascinating Shakespearean theatrical experiences in memory! A briskly-paced, rousingly inventive, accessible adaptation. The least-produced work out of Shakespeare’s canon, the rendition currently on at (CST) proves why this estimable company is one of the finest regional theaters in the country. CST is to be commended.”


Timon, echoing the rages of Lear and the pessimism of Hamlet, gains a kind of timely glory in this, its second revival by CST. Barbara Gaines' staging updates the play to a searing look at materialism circa 2012—a cynical parable and an exercise in extremes. Ian McDiarmid, a superbly supple, velvet-voiced actor, tackles the killer title role, a wrenching reversal that requires a 180 degree turn in temperament as much as fortune. McDiarmid, who can turn gratingly mechanical or silky smooth, moves Timon with scary accuracy. A flawless cast yields sterling work.”


    A streamlined, lean and brisk 'Timon'. Barbara Gaines' production leaves Timon vividly framed in his native state of misanthropy veering into madness. Timon's estrangement, and his reaction to it, closely resembles that of King Lear as he loses his self-esteem, his place in the world, his very sense of self. McDiarmid makes a tragic passage indeed, from hale fellow, all cheer and generosity, to elemental rage and a general loathing, the first object of which is himself. It is the thorough viciousness of Timon's misanthropy that McDiarmid carries off so well. It's an effective production...one is left with the sense that great wealth can stain the best of souls. What works extremely well is Gaines' relocation of the play from antiquity to the present day, with all the cleverly utilized accessories of cell phones, video displays and military modernisms. ”

“Spectacular! One man's search for the value of his life, this gem of Shakespeare's portfolio is rarely produced. Director Barbara Gaines puts a modern twist on an old tale, keeping the movement playful and searing. Think you know Shakespeare's Timon of Athens? Think again and go see it.”


“Stunning staging and strong performances make Timon of Athens a winner. A fresh, zesty treatment by director Barbara Gaines, led by famed classical actor, Ian McDiarmid in the lead role. This production features a vividly physical and verbally challenging work from Ian McDiarmid. His command of the stage has the presence of a giant. It is a joy to see a seldom produced Shakespeare work, such as Timon of Athens, so expertly acted. A fast-paced spectacle, it is a fine play to introduce folks to the wonders of The Bard's work.”

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