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A Masterful Tribute to Shakespeare: RiffRaff NYC's "Flattery in Friendship" Showcase

A Masterful Tribute to Shakespeare: RiffRaff NYC's "Flattery in Friendship" Showcase

I must confess that I’m an admirer of Shakespearean literature. I had the pleasure of attending RiffRaff NYC's captivating showcase, "Flattery in Friendship.” and this performance was nothing short of a masterful tribute to the timeless works of the Bard himself.

This Production company headed by Joe Staton and Dorothea Gloria campaigns for immigrant actors, and really putting on stage the melting pot of talent reflecting the city itself.

Joe and Dorothea also proved their talent not just behind the scene, but also on stage themselves as a kind hearted Banquo and as the adorable trickster Puck.

From the moment the stage emerged out of darkness, the audience was transported into the intricate world of Shakespearean drama, where themes of love, betrayal, and ambition intersected with the complexities of friendship. The ensemble cast demonstrated exceptional talent and dedication, breathing life into Shakespeare's iconic characters with every line delivered.

What truly set "Flattery in Friendship" apart was its innovative approach to storytelling. RiffRaff NYC seamlessly intertwined excerpts from various Shakespearean plays, creating a cohesive narrative that explored the multifaceted dynamics of friendship across different contexts. Each scene was meticulously crafted, offering fresh insights into familiar tales while preserving the essence of Shakespeare's original vision.

A Masterful Tribute to Shakespeare: RiffRaff NYC's "Flattery in Friendship" Showcase

French actress Mila Besson, who now has a permanent position on the RiffRaff NYC team, showed off her acting chops in a beautiful performance as Rosalind in As You like It. Owning the stage with her beautiful charm and elegance as well as sassy and gritty deliverance. This actress delivers an unforgettable performance and is just captivating to watch on stage.

Another actress that left a lasting impression on me was British born Danielle Kendler-Rhodes, whose portrayal of Hermia infused the production with comedic brilliance. With impeccable timing and boundless energy, Kendler-Rhodes brought a delightful charm to the stage, eliciting laughter from the audience with her witty repartee and physical comedy. But it wasn’t just comedy and charm that Danielle Kendler-Rhodes brought to the night, but also a equally remarkable portrayal of Prince Arthur, which was nothing short of emotional and heartbreaking. Through subtle nuances and raw vulnerability, she captured the essence of Shakespeare's tragic heroes, inviting the audience to empathize with the character's inner turmoil and existential angst. And even opening the show this talent brought a creepy and menacing performance as one of the witches in Macbeth. I have a strong feeling Danielle Kendler-Rhodes is ‘the one to watch…’

Acting alongside her was Dutch actor Hraban Luyat playing Lysander in a Midsummer Nights Dream, he brought such energy and emotion to the role and his desperation of love brought beautiful layers to this character. The Cherry on top of his dynamic performance was his comedic timing - full of energy and punchy beats he was unstoppable on stage leading the charge of Helena’s affection, his performance really stood out and was something expected to be seen on the likes of a Broadway stage.

A Masterful Tribute to Shakespeare: RiffRaff NYC's "Flattery in Friendship" Showcase

The whole cast of this showcase worked beautifully together to create a dynamic and strong performance - blending comedy, tragedy and pure joy. Really showing the timeless works of Shakespeare and its importance to the theatre world.

All of this directed by Chloe Chaplin, a British director who is defiantly one to look out for making a name for herself in both the acting and directing world.

I really applaud the production's commitment to diversity and inclusivity, highly commendable. The cast represented a rich tapestry of backgrounds and identities, reflecting the universal resonance of Shakespeare's themes in today's society. This inclusive casting not only added depth to the performances but also underscored the enduring relevance of Shakespearean literature in embracing the complexity of human experience.

In conclusion, RiffRaff NYC's "Flattery in Friendship" is a triumph of theatrical artistry that celebrates the enduring legacy of Shakespeare in a modern context. With its stellar performances, inventive storytelling, and inclusive ethos, this showcase exemplifies the transformative power of theatre to unite, inspire, and provoke thought. Whether you're a seasoned Shakespeare aficionado like myself, or a newcomer to his works, "Flattery in Friendship" was a must-see production that left a lasting impression on all who experienced it.

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