By Deb Philp
If Wednesday's opening performance is any indication, the Adirondack Shakespeare Company's third season will leave no doubt that they are serious contenders in the Shakespearean summer stock crowd. They opened the season with "The Twelve Labors of Hercules," an original play billed as a children's show. But the "children's show" label is too limiting for this extremely entertaining production. "Hercules" is truly for all ages.
I won't give away the plot - the surprises are too much fun - except to say that the playwright started with the Hercules myth from the ancient Greeks and crafted a story that is contemporary and poignant for kids and adults alike. Youngsters were mesmerized by beautifully crafted masks and puppet-like costumes. Older children could relate as bully and intellectual nerd discover they have something to offer each other and become friends. Overlaying that was the very adult theme of strategy and diplomacy versus brute force and the development of leadership, as apropos today as it was in ancient times. Woven throughout was perfectly-timed humor that had the whole audience laughing out loud.
The actors are professional and highly entertaining, and pull the audience into the production with planned and ad-libbed interactions. I am looking forward to seeing them again in "Twelfth Night," "Hamlet" and "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead" throughout the summer. We should consider ourselves blessed that the Adirondack Shakespeare Company has chosen Schroon Lake for their summer home.