Monday, August 16, 2010

The Lion in Winter - A review

Event: The Lion in Winter, Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Cost: Our tickets were comp'ed, but you can buy tickets here. (They range from $14-$49.)


John Pasha as Richard “the Lionheart” in the Shakespeare Santa Cruz production of “The Lion In Winter”.
(Photo by rr jones)

The Review:

As with "Love's Labor's Lost", I went into this play totally cold. There's a brief description of the plot on the page for the show (linked above), but it doesn't do the play justice.

The best way of describing this show is part Tudors, part Twits, and a hint of the Prodigal son parable. Henry II is preparing for his succession, and like any good monarchs-in-training would, the three boys fight, plot, and do their utmost to secure their spot as the future King. Marco Barricelli conveys the conflict of deciding what is best for the empire he has built and reconciling that against how he feels about his sons.

There are complex family dynamics at work in this play, mainly how the imprisoned wife and the scheming sons interact. Everyone is working toward their own end goals, politically aligning themselves for their best benefit, but looking over their shoulders the whole time.

"The Lion in Winter" deals with serious themes, but is also incredibly funny. All of the actors have fantastic dramatic chemistry. I feel inclined to add that this is a ridiculously handsome cast. Most notably, John Pasha (Richard, photographed above), who happened to be sitting in front of me during Love's Labor's Lost. So, so handsome- and look at that beard! I love a good beard. He was convincing both as a future monarch and as a soldier. (This is personally relevant to me because my initial introduction to Richard I was in the Robin Hood story.)

There is definitely some artistic license taken with the history, but it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the play. (For reference, I *love* The Tudors.) If you can't cope with anachronisms, perhaps you should skip this show, and for that matter, any historically-based costume drama. If not, this play is not to be missed.

1 comment:

  1. I highly recommend the movie with Katherine Hepburn, Peter O'Toole, and Anthony Hopkins. I spent most of it wondering how anyone has ever dared to put up the show again, given the caliber of acting on screen in front of me.

    That said, I'd love to see it live! And that man is definitely handsome. Mrowr.


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