Orson's Shadow
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Ed Smith

Marin Theatreís first play of their new season, Orsonís Shadow, is not for everyone. But most Orson Welles and Sir Laurence Olivier fans should find it interesting. Like many plays based on the lives of famous people, it comes off a little more like the National Enquirer instead of focusing on the depth of Welles and Olivierís art.

Though thereís some good humor in this play, it helps to be familiar with the theatre and at least two movies, Wellesí classic Citizen Kane and Olivierís excellent WWII propaganda film Henry the Fifth. This knowledge will help you understand some of the subtle humor when these films are referred to. Some knowledge of Ionescoís play Rhinoceros is also helpful, because in Orsonís Shadow Wells (Steve Irish) directs Rhinoceros with Oliver (Nicholas Hormann) playing the starring role. Much of the dramatic action revolves around the clashes of these two titan actors working together.

The cast is excellent. They manage to bring out some depth of character and Steve Irish really looks and sounds like Orson Welles, but like most plays about famous people, Orsonís Shadow, written by Austin Pendleton, falls flat because it fails to live up to the art of the real people it tries to portray.

For tickets or more information call (415) 388-5208 or visit www.marintheatre.org.

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