CANDIDA, Circle Theatre. One might well assume that this fine revival of George Bernard Shaw’s morality comedy was the best low-budget Shaw one could hope for if it weren’t for Writers’ Theatre Chicago’s brilliant recent production. Their rendition of Shaw’s wonderfully witty love triangle between a pastor, his wife, and a moonstruck 18-year-old poet burst with energy and relevance, and by comparison Circle’s production, directed by Lynn Ann Bernatowicz, feels a wee bit creaky.
The best moments belong to Robert Kauzlaric as the poet–who has the play’s most successful comedic lines–and Karin Anglin as the titular object of admiration: she conveys all the wit and wisdom of a woman who knows herself to be stronger and more composed than the childish men who battle for her affections. Their performances, coupled with Shaw’s delicious humor and stunningly contemporary observations on gender relations, are reason enough to attend this production, especially for those who haven’t seen the play recently or at all. But Kauzlaric and Anglin are not particularly well served by the other players, some of whom slip in and out of their accents and rely more on caricature than character.
Nonetheless Bernatowicz paces the drama well and does a fine job of representing Shaw’s text in an intelligent, straightforward manner, creating an evening of theater that is not altogether inspired but certainly competent and entertaining.