Shylock at the 2015 Winnipeg Fringe -, starring John Huston
Shylock at the 2015 Winnipeg Fringe -, starring John Huston

Actor John D. Huston has performed Mark Leiren-Young’s one man show more than 50 times, and it shows. Huston completely melds into the role of Jon Davies. He’s a Jewish actor who’s just given his last performance as Shylock in a production of Merchant of Venice — cancelled because of controversy over the role. So he offers one last post-show talkback to us, the audience.

Rarely will you find a single show at the Fringe that offers as much as this one does. It’s a drama that asks tough questions about censorship, racism, art and equality, but will also make you laugh. It teaches about Shakespeare but doesn’t require foreknowledge for enjoyment.

It’s a quintessentially theatrical experience, steeped in what it means to tread the stage and what art represents in contemporary society, but also intimately and immediately human.

It may be Fringe in its scale and cast size, but in what it says, and in Huston’s performance, Shylock encompasses all of what theatre is.

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