The CSC's King John

Last Friday (Jan. 21), the lovely Robin accompanied me to a performance of The Life and Death of King John at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in downtown Cincinnati.

I love me some Shakespeare, and even more a chance to witness this seldom-produced play in the Bard's canon. I was not disappointed at all. In fact, this is one of the strongest outings I've seen performed by the CSC.

King John was youngest son of Henry II (of “Lion in Winter” fame), the brother of Richard the Lionheart, and the despised "Prince John" of Robin Hood fame.

Though King John is considered one of (perhaps THE) weakest of Shakespeare's dramas, the CSC made it a rollicking night of sword fights, romance, betrayal, loyalty, and intrigue.

One of the joys of regularly attending the CSC's presentations is discovering the adaptations: Romeo and Juliet as an interracial couple, Much Ado in a hippie setting, and All's Well That Ends Well in World War II Europe. But this presentation of King John, as reviewer Jackie Demaline put it, "is full steam ahead costume drama (with a huge, fur-bedecked wardrobe by Heidi Jo Schiemer) sturdily directed by Brian Isaac Phillips."

Chris Guthrie stood out in the play's meatiest role, that of Phillip, the bastard son of John’s brother Richard. Corinne Mohlenhoff's Act II soliloquy was pitch-perfect and thoroughly moving. Jeff Groh's Hubert and (a personal favorite of mine and Robin's) Lauren Shively's Blanche were well-cast and well-played.

“King John,” continues through Feb. 5 at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., downtown (513-381-2273 and You should see it while you can. This is one play that doesn't come around often.

No comments:

Post a Comment