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Grace Merriman as Nerissa and Joy Donze as Portia in Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ at the Secret Theatre. Photo by Reiko Yanagi

Grace Merriman as Nerissa and Joy Donze as Portia in Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ at the Secret Theatre. Photo by Reiko Yanagi


"Secret Theatre's 'Merchant' is good business"

Joy Donze gives us the full measure of Portia, Shakespeare’s greatest female character. Whether squirming before her undesirable suitors in her 1940s dresses, or making the Duke and his court look foolish as she foils Shylock’s logic in her comical disguise as a man (Anna Winter’s period-atmospheric costumes add dimension throughout), this noble maiden, aided ably by her attendant Nerissa (an acute Grace Merriman), is a beacon throughout, wryly comical and earthily believable.

With Donze’s Portia and Mazda’s Shylock leading the way, nearly the whole cast maintains the mastery of Shakespeare’s sometimes difficult language that’s needed to make the rather absurd storylines clear and offer the effects Shakespeare intended. Famous passages like Shylock’s “Hath not a Jew eyes?” plea and Portia’s “The quality of mercy is not strain’d” speech to the court slide by organically, thus all the more powerfully. -BlogCritics.org   Find the full article HERE!

In a cast that is uniformly appealing, several actors stand out. Mazda gives us a surprisingly restrained Shylock, his focused, subtile intensity giving his speeches maximum emotional effect. Carrera delineates a multi-layered, involving Antonio, capturing his basic goodness while never losing sight of an essential priggishness within the character. And as Portia, Donze (along with her partner-in-crime Nerissa, admirably played by Grace Merriman) deftly alternates between bawdy humor and emotional power. - Times LedgerFind the full article HERE!

"...the beautiful heiriss Portia (Joy Donze) a master of comedy in Act 1, and a shrewd but vindictive judge in Act2." - The Queens Courier

-........the students lend comic relief to what otherwise is a pretty solemn two hours. Doble's thumbnail sketches of the three, embodied by the talented Joy Donze (Courtney), Ariel Kim (Mingzhu), and Deshawn Wyatte (Jamal), have a vividness that's lacking in his depiction of the leads. The students' performance of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet (enhanced by their commentary) is at once funny and moving. Their streetwise, up-to-the-minute interpretation of Shakespeare underscores the insight, offered by Mac in an early exchange with Jab, that wisdom doesn't require great book-learning.

-Curtain Up- Charles Wright  http://www.curtainup.com/fringe16.html#protectpoets