Review: 'The Emperor of the Moon' at Shakespeare & Company

Angelica Potter

  • OnStage Massachusetts Critic

The Emperor of the Moon by Aphra Behn is a comical story of a Doctor obsessed with the moon, the Doctor’s family, and a few well-intentioned servants and suitors. This 75 minute, new adaptation by director Jenna Ware is based in Commedia dell’Arte and is a music-filled, hysterical farce playing under an open-air tent. Music by composer Emma Ayres and outrageously bright costumes, designed by Brianna Wells, completely match the outlandishness of this fast-paced play. 

 Concetta Russo and Ashton Muniz. The Emperor of the Moon. Shakespeare & Company 2016. Photo by Ava G. Lindenmaier.

Concetta Russo and Ashton Muniz. The Emperor of the Moon. Shakespeare & Company 2016. Photo by Ava G. Lindenmaier.

Scaramouch, a servant in the Doctor’s house, is fantastically played by Gregory Boover. Many of his antics are done alongside Marcus Kearns who not only played Harlequin, a servant to Don Charmante, but was also the dance choreographer for the production. The pairs’ zaniness was hilariously featured in their many duels (fight choreography by Jonathan Croy). These duels were not only done with swords but also with music, dancing and drawing; each one more entertaining than the one before. Their complete embodiment of their characters is apparent from start to finish with each facial expression, every act of physical comedy and musical display. Boover and Kearns are truly talented performers with long careers ahead of them.

The cast also includes the eccentric Doctor played by Lori Evans, his daughter Elaria played by Caroline Calkins, his niece Bellemante played by Zoё Laiz, their Governante Mopsophil played by Caitlin Kraft, the Doctor’s apprentice Peter played by Kaileela Hobby, Don Charmante played by Colin Gold, Don Cinthio played by Conor Seamus Moroney, servants Ferdinand and Florinda played by Ashton Muñiz and Concetta Russo and finally Cupids played by Dara Silverman and Eric Corbett Williams. This play and its fast moving mayhem were supremely executed by this well connected cast. From beginning to end they worked together to bring this crazy, fun story to life for the audience. 

The audience fully enjoyed this over-the-top family friendly production. The Emperor of the Moon is playing outside in the Rose Footprint Theatre until August 20th. Tickets and more information can be found at

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