"John Harrell plays Prince John almost exactly as Richard describes him, a “walking pustule.” Harrell in his hunched shoulder, folded arms, and sniveling demeanor physically turns himself into a festering boil of a man. He’s obnoxiously whiney and simpering when overmatched by his brothers, and even when he tries to play the sweet son he’s grating. In his mastery of timing and concentrated timbre, Harrell expertly slides his lines in and out of the others’ pronouncements, heightening the comic effect while making Prince John seem all the more annoying—like a mosquito buzzing around your ear."
"Thornton’s King Philip doesn’t consider himself a lightweight, but he certainly is no match for the experienced manipulator and blowhard Henry—we can see James Keegan’s King Henry deliciously outmaneuver his French counterpart at every turn. As Philip pulls what he thinks is the ace from up his sleeve in the bedchamber scene, Thornton ramps up the slyness in his character, the power of a man who this time has deeper knowledge than his adversary is aware of. And when that knowledge literally springs upon the scene even better than he could have imagined, Thornton’s Philip sits back and watches his non-plot unfold and entwine Henry. This scene is worth attending the play twice: Watch the reveals of one son after another in the bedchamber the first time through, and the second go-round watch Thornton’s Philip watching the unfolding show with his own delicious delight."
"ASC newcomer Tracie Thomason plays Alais, Philip’s sister and Henry’s mistress, as the lightest weight of all, the resident eye candy. She’s a sweet girl, devotedly doting on Henry, protesting that she’s being used as a pawn even as the king so obviously maneuvers her. There is confidence in her bearing, though, even in the presence of Eleanor, and it’s easy to dismiss that as a young woman’s romantic fancies—until she lays down her own law on Henry that completely flummoxes him in a way the queen, princes, and royal counterpart never could. Frankly, we’re not surprised in this plot twist because Thomason has subtly turned her pale part into an ever-emerging focal point, and that makes richer her last scene with Henry for being one of the most believable moments in this production—real, living theater."
For best seats, order tickets for The Lion in Winter today.
By Eric Minton. Posted at Shakespeareances.com, 7.20.2012.
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Saturday, May 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
Much Ado about Nothing
Saturday, May 30, 2015, 7:30 pm
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Actors' Renaissance Season