Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hooray for Henry

I didn't even manage to check the program once during Wide Eyed Production's Henry VI, part 3. It was three hours long, and the third part of a history play I knew nothing about yet the play had me hooked from the moment the action began with a chair falling onto the stage from the rafters.

Chairs were the only props, and an over-sized throne that was alternately used to represent a rampart or a torture device reminded me of a Tom Petty music video. This association may have been encouraged by a long-haired Nat Cassidy cast as Henry IV.

This was seriously excellent acting across the board. People died drawn out deaths proclaiming fabulous lines and managed not to seem melodramatic parodies ("Is nothing left me but my body's length" asks Warwick...).

The production decisions, from the carefully considered costumes to the utterly new reinvention of blood-spattering in the finale, were executed impeccably throughout providing the kind of stage support that really good actors deserve. Though all the performers, including the boy Rutland (Anthony Doqaj) were outstanding, of particular note were Moses Villarama as Clifford and Ben Newman as the future Richard III. Kelly McCrann also added an important note of naïveté to her role as Lady Grey/Queen Elizabeth. This was the best tragedy I've seen so far (a rich man's Titus Andronicus), and only partly thanks to the Bard.

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