HENRY VI: THE WAR OF THE ROSES Part 2 Review

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Giles Davies as Richard, Duke of York and Darnell Pierre Benjamin as King Henry VI. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

HENRY VI Part 2 presented Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through Feb. 11. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.

And you thought Game of Thrones had a high body count?! Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s penultimate chapter of Shakespeare’s history cycle, HENRY VI: THE WAR OF THE ROSES Part 2, is epic in scope and passionately told.

If you missed Part 1, the staff at CSC has created a well-produced video to bring audience members up to speed on the events leading up to the part 2.

CSC enlists a strong and talented ensemble of nineteen to tell the tale of the fall of Henry VI and setting the stage for the rise of Richard III. Director Brian Issac Phillips keeps the action swift, the storytelling focused, and finds a great balance between the drama and the humor of the script.

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Mathew Lewis Johnson as Jack Cade (pictured with Paul Riopelle and Sara Clark.) Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Matthew Lewis Johnson returns to the CSC stage in a great comic turn as Jack Cade. Giles Davies captivates as the cunning Richard, Duke of York. Kelly Mengelkoch is a force of nature as momma bear Queen Margaret. Brent Vintrup is solid as the honey-tongued, conniving Earl of Warwick. Darnelle Pierre Benjamin is spot on as the floundering King Henry VI. Billy Chance is mesmerizing as the deformed Richard and I’m excited to see his character take the throne in the upcoming final installment.

This production would not have been as successful without the support of CSC’s excellent production staff. As credited in the program: Bob Airhart, Assistant Director; Andrew J. Hungerford, Scenic & Lighting Designer; Amanda McGee, Costume Designer; Douglas J. Borntrager, Sound and Projections Designer; Bruce Cromer, Fight Choreographer; Mariele Fluegeman, Dramatrug; Rachele Ekstrand, Assistant Stage Manager; Carolyn Fast, Stage Manager; Abbi Howson, Costume Shop Manager; Justen N. Locke, Resident Lighting Designer & Technical Director; Amanda McGee, Resident Costume Designer; Shannon Moore, Resident Scenic Designer; Maddie Regan, Production Manager; Sara Sharos, Properties Master; Amanda Winters, Wardrobe Supervisor & Adam Zeck, Master Electrician.

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Josh Katawick as Edward and Billy Chace as Richard. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Even though the show clocks in at over three hours, it is so engaging that the act breaks seem to come quicker than expected. If you have been hesitant to watch a Shakespearean play, you may want to give this production a chance.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5

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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