HENRY VI Part I Review

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Paul Riopelle as Duke of Gloucester, Darnell Pierre Benjamin as Henry VI & Kelly Mengelkoch as Queen Margaret. Photo by By Mikki Schaffner Photography.

HENRY VI Part I presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through Feb. 13. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.

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Caitlin McWethy as Joan. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Those of us who braved the beginning of the sNOwSTORM were treated to a smartly-staged, epic tale.

Considering how dense the scripts are for Shakespeare’s History Plays, I was impressed with the clarity of the storytelling. There was a synergy to the production and a renewed, buoyant energy to the organization as a whole.

Andrew Hungerford’s experience with the space allows him to create a smart, minimalist set design combined with an excellent lighting design. Together they define such locations as the King’s Court and the bloody battlefields. The latter featuring well-staged and well-executed fight choreography by Bruce Cromer.

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Billy Chace as Suffolk & Kelly Mengelkoch as Queen Margaret. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Brent Vimtrup gives a commanding performance as Lord Talbot. The scene with his son, John (played by late addition Patrick E. Phillips) before they return to battle was a highlight for me. Clearly enjoying their roles were Catilin McWethy as battle-loving Joan and the plotting pair of Suffok and Queen Margaret (Billy Chace & Kelly Mengelkoch.) Also well-done was the rivalry between Richard, Duke of York (the impeccable Giles Davies) and Somerset, smartly played by Justin McComs. In the title role, Darnell Pierre Benjamin does very well in portraying the too young King as he ages over the course of the play. I look forward to seeing him return to the role next season.

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Kelly Mengelkoch as Queen Margaret & Darnell Pierre Benjamin as Henry VI. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

With the minimal set, the costumes, designed by Amanda McGee, popped on stage and did much to define the characters. Smart work by Wig Master James Geier as well.

A high-energy and clearly-staged epic, deftly helmed by director Brian Issac Phillips.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5.

FYI, if you are interested to learn more about Joan of Arc, you may want to see Diogenes Theatre Company’s upcoming production of SAINT JOAN. The cast includes many names familiar to CSC audiences.

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.


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