Chamber Cymbeline

There’s something for every devotee of the Bard in Chamber Cymbeline, though in this seldom-performed late-career effort, the mighty pen at Stratford-Upon-Avon appears to be running dry. The ludicrous plot borders on self-lampoon: Cymbeline is a vain and stubborn king whose equally headstrong daughter, Imogen, secretly marries the impoverished but noble Posthumus rather than her stepmother’s lunkhead son. Dad banishes Posthumus and confines Imogen to quarters; then there’s a royal son kidnapped in childhood and raised by a woodsman, servants armed with sleeping potions, a conniving queen who plots against her husband, mistaken identities, and the standard round-robin confession at the dénouement where intrigues unravel and each character explains how the whole mess came to be. Fortunately, in a production neatly attenuated by director Henry Woronicz at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakes earns its kudos for daring where most would fear to tread and actually making sense of the muddled original Cymbeline. KEVIN PHINNEY [See Kevin’s full review.]

Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 6. Continues through Jan. 30, 2011