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To a Boston theatre season that has known little but the light trip of the sock, there comes this week the measured tread of buskined feet upon the boards. Maurice Evans returns, for a limited engagement, in what is perhaps the most lyrical of Shakespeare's historical dramas, "King Richard II." The modern theatre-goer can only be fascinated by this tragedy of a man too weak for an age of strength, and watch with envy the grandeur and buoyant optimism not found in the sordidness of the twentieth century.
It is difficult for us to evaluate an Evans performance. Shakespeare and Evans must seem almost synonymous to us, born too late for the Sotherns and Barrymores of a former day. He is Hamlet, and we accept him altogether -- if we sit in the first few rows, we even accept a fine spray with our soliloquy. And here we must do much the same; if Evans is perhaps too precious as the English king, he is at all times magnificent as the tragic poet of the later scenes.
Not afraid to be outshone by his lesser lights, he has surrounded himself with a brilliant supporting cast. Margaret Webster has again molded together one of the colorful and scenically interesting productions which have made her almost as famous as Evans himself on the American stage. Melpomene may well smile on the cold wastes of Boston this week, for here resides, for the nonce, the true spirit of tragedy.
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