at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
September 18 - October 10, 2010
Sets by Bill Clarke
Costumes by Emily Pepper
Lighting by Tony Galaska
Sound by Karin Graybash

"You can't help loving this show." - The New York Times

"Shakespeare Theatre's All's Well That Ends Well is quite special." - Talkin' Broadway

There’s much to be commended in this welcome new look at Shakespeare’s poetically dense and dramatically rather formulaic play. The strengths include the effective and credible choice of an Edwardian time frame by the director, Stephen Fried, and his skill at conveying the humanity of his players. The cast, some of whom appear in multiple roles, brings verve and nuance to characters that might, in lesser hands, veer toward the generic. With minimal yet evocative scenic designs by Bill Clarke, Emily Pepper’s richly detailed and strikingly somber costumes, and Tony Galaska’s period-perfect lighting, this production takes one of the less-stellar works in the repertory and makes it shine brilliantly.
— Naomi Siegel - The New York Times
Fried’s production provided new insights into this oft-neglected play. Fried’s vision of Helena linked her to Shakespeare’s other strong, but more well-known, female characters, including Kate and Portia. His staging choices added depth and clarity to Helena’s, Bertram’s, and Parolles’s characters. The doubling and tripling of roles made theatre a reality in these difficult economic times, and provided a unique opportunity to showcase the versatility of these actors in a production that brought a fresh perspective on a gem of Shakespeare’s canon.
— Barbara Ann Lukacs - Shakespeare Bulletin
Director Stephen Fried has pulled off two distinct coups to delight us with theatrical high jinks and intimate storytelling. The first is the Art Nouveau setting. Roughly, this corresponds to the Edwardian era (not coincidentally, the pre-World War period that was the last era of strict social strata in Western Europe). This allows for era evocative costumes which make this play feel as accessible and modern as possible. It also allows for scenery (beautifully designed by Bill Clarke) which reflects the beauty and flowing lines of the Art Nouveau era. Fried’s other coup is his decision to cast only nine actors in the production’s twenty-three roles. With the assistance of his lively, appropriately broad direction and distinctive costumes which assure that there can never be any doubt as to which characters are onstage, the cast projects an infectious delight in their rapid-fire role changes. Their joyful performances delightfully lift our spirits over the play’s sometimes dolorous content.
— Bob Rendell - Talkin' Broadway
What I saw take place under the direction of Stephen Fried is a play that quickly becomes unexpectedly effective and even striking.
— Simon Saltzman - CurtainUp
You’ll be knocked out by the stylish staging and top-notch acting of nine actors who play 22 characters, without missing a beat in delivery or scene change, thanks to director Stephen Fried, scenic designer Bill Clarke, costume designer Emily Pepper and lighting designer Tony Galaska.
— Ruth Ross - NJ Arts Maven
Ably led by director Stephen Fried ... his economical approach brings clarity rather than confusion to this challenging but ultimately satisfying tale.
— William Westhoven - The Daily Record