The new Executive Director of San Diego Musical Theatre directs, choreographs, acts, sings, and creates
Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Oct. 8
Adrian Noble directed Shakespeare's controversial play as a comedy of bad manners. Merchant contains anti-Semitism. But what is it pro-? If it's for Christianity, then it has an embedded critique of un-Christian behavior — all of which pulverizes Miles Anderson's extraordinary Shylock. He begins as both wary and chipper. By the end he threatens to tear down the comfining walls of comedy. The production is funny, stern, and opulent, thanks to Deidre Clancy's late 19th century costumes and Ralph Funicello's Venice (bridges and canals)/Belmont (golden hued) scenic design. The director adds a cameo near the end for the mightily wronged Shylock. But it's unnecessary, since Anderson has already built a profound, artistically-earned case for unstrained mercy.