September 12">

September 12, 2000

The Newark Star Ledger

"New Jersey Stage" by Peter Filicia

(segments from this review discussing Bob's performance is reproduced below -- entire review may be found in the regular issue of this newspaper)

"He controls much of the world; she rules absolutely in her own country.  So any production of Shakespeare's "Antony & Cleopatra" must have two leads that are equally strong....

In this rarely produced tragedy, Antony is portrayed by Robert Cuccioli, who has done exceedingly well in "Jekyll & Hyde" on Broadway and in many song-filled roles at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn.  Yet Cuccioli, who has never before attempted Shakespeare, does splendidly.

Cuccioli lets the words fall naturally off his tongue, all in the cause of creating a character who has a good job and a good wife, and neglects both once he  meets the Queen of Egypt.   Cuccioli's Antony wears a smart smirk when he's warned that he's neglecting his duties.  He knows he can handle everything.

He can't, and Cuccioli convincingly shows the struggle of a man who is used to having everything fall into place - until now.  He tries to cooperate by marrying Octavia, his fellow ruler's sister.  Here, Cuccioli shows the character's native nobility when he won't lie to her about his feelings.  Later, when he's betrayed by a trusted ally, he's equally admirable in resolving the situation without revenge. 

Not that he's a saint, Antony.  After he orders a man to be whipped, the bloodied victim is brought before him.  In one of the director Bonnie J. Monte's most potent moves, Antony brutally slaps the suffering man's back."

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