Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Henry V

A few scenes seem rushed in this Queens Players staging, but overall this is a strong production of Shakespeare's stirring history play. Danny Yoerges makes a marvelous Henry. Early in the proceedings, he seems stuck in an angry declamatory style, but his character fleshes out methodically, until by the time the young boys guarding the storehouse are killed by the fleeing French cavalry, Henry's seething, buttoned-up rage is thoroughly believable. Subsequently, after the battle is won, he transforms handily into Katherine's arch, bright-eyed wooer. The story is told straightforwardly, without extravagant sets and props, and, except for numerous cuts, in a form Shakespeare himself would probably recognize easily. The cast is very large, which makes for effective charging unto breaches. Casting the members of the French court as women, from King down to Herald, might in another production seem experimental or even outrageous, but after initially absorbing the conceit, one takes relatively little note of it, in large measure due to Jennifer Ewing's suitably regal performance as the French king. Read the full review.

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