Directed by Brian Pastor
Produced by Prometheaan Theatre Ensemble
At the Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago
Worthy storefront Shakespeare speaks The Bard’s language with respect and clarity
My problem with most non-Equity storefront productions of Shakespeare is that the actors have no clue as to what they are saying. The seem to always place the emphasis in the same place no matter what they are saying. That indicates they they were merely memorizing words devoid of meaning. But, I’m happy to report that director Brian Pastor’s production of the seldom produced history, Henry V is a worthy, articulate and heartfelt production. Text coach and narrator John Arthur Lewis leads the way with a well-spoken rendering of Shakespeare’s verse. He has the cast performing in a richly clear and easily accessible diction garnering the action and motivation an easy to understand quality.
The history play is devoid of sets possessing a neutral time period with fine war video projections (by Daniel Carlyon & Paul Edwards). This gives the audience a close up of what war can feel like. We meet the young English King, Henry V (a winning turn by Nick Lake), who tries to put his wild teen past behind him as he must invade France to win honor and credibility. He is still hounded by his past pals from his time spent drinking at the Boar’s Head Tavern. Intrigue, betrayal, and colorful characters populate Henry V. The Battle of Agincourt is vividly enacted resulting in a victory for Henry over his French rivals.
The two hour plus history is lively, humorous ,and, at times, dramatically impacted. Seldom to you see as finer ensemble performing Shakespeare as found in this worthy production. Nick Lake leads the way and John Arthur Lewis guides us through the intricate goings on as Henry V proves his leadership ability while also capturing a French bride. Promethean Theatre Ensemble’s Henry V is sure worth a look.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: May 12, 2012
For more info check the Henry V page at theatreinchicago.com
At Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, Chicago, IL, call 773-935-6875, www.athenaeumtheatre.com, tickets $20, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm, running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes with intermission, through June 2, 2012