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film review

Joseph Ziegler as Timon in Timon of Athens.Cylla von Tiedemann

Rating:

3 out of 4 stars
  • Timon of Athens
  • Written by William Shakespeare
  • Directed (for the screen) by Barry Avrich
  • Starring Joseph Ziegler, Ben Carlson and Michael Spencer-Davis
  • Classification PG; 120 minutes
  • Opening April 22 on select Cineplex screens

As the Stratford Festival proceeds with its film project, it reaches into the far corners of the canon; how many people have ever seen Timon of Athens?

Timon is a wealthy Athenian who showers entertainment on his friends only to find they abandon him when he bankrupts himself. The play, with its simple structure and repetitive later acts, is certainly not Shakespeare’s most satisfying work, but the first acts of this production, directed by Stephen Ouimette, look fabulous on film because they feature the kind of rich ensemble acting the camera can really highlight.

Not only do Joseph Ziegler’s expansive Timon and Ben Carlson’s skeptical Apemantus draw the eye with their detailed performances, but Rylan Wilkie, Omar Alex Khan, Jacklyn Francis and Mike Nadajewski, as the fawning friends, offer delightfully contemporary reactions to their host and his predicament. The performances remain strong in the later acts, but Timon is stuck on his own version of Lear’s stormy heath and, as always, stage pyrotechnics don’t translate well to film. Still, this Timon makes a lesser Shakespearean play highly watchable.