Merchant of Venice

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Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Tanya Goldberg

Cashed-out rich kid seeks fast loan to win savvy, A-list heiress. Lucky for him, his melancholy friend will act as guarantor with nothing to lose but his life.  Meanwhile, two runaway lovers leave behind a devastated, vengeful father who is definitely NOT allowed in the club.

This production delivers a radical reinvention of the concept of insider and outsider. The role of Shylock, a character tolerated for his social function but reviled for his difference, is shared among the whole cast.

A controversial comedy and raucous tragedy, this Merchant mines the script for its complicated, unresolved and pragmatic twenty-first century cynicism. Mixing romance, social commentary, petty cruelties and serious consequences, it is both unflinching and equivocal in its portrayal of social survival. Just as there is no good behaviour, there are no easy answers.

A Sun Herald top pick for production of a classic text in 2007.

“What this Ride On production has made compelling is the absence of redemption. Goldberg accentuates character indifference so that ambivalence becomes cynicism and superficially attractive characters become offensive… No one actor plays Shylock and this choice pays a thematic dividend. Anti-Semitism gets to create an elusive and ubiquitous target and inflict its own wound. Beyond religious division, such a theatrical conceit seems perfectly matched to the politics of today, as Portia might portend: a seeming truth which cunning times put on.” Mark Hopkins. Sydney Morning Herald.

Cast: Christian Barrat-Hill, Richard Gyoerffy, Ryan Hayward, Anna Houston, Robert Jago, Lee Jones, Nathan Lovejoy, Eve Morey, Esti Regos, Oliver Wenn. Lighting: Verity Hampson. Set: Simone Romaniuk. Costume: Xanthe Heubel. Sound and Composition: Geir Brillian. Stage Manager Jennifer Hind. Producers: Joanna Fishman and Belinda Guinn.
2007 at BSharp, Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney