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Average Rating Given : 4.00000
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REVIEWS

Henry V, by William Shakespeare
The Real Story on Henry V: Acting and Concepts
Thursday, June 6, 2002
4.0
When they boys are away, the women will play! And they play extremely well in this thought provoking version of Henry V.
Unlike the other reviewer of this show, I was totally sold on the "40's" concept. After glancing at a patriotic lobby display that contained many old advertisements asking women to "take an active role on the home-front," I took my seat to the tune big band music and old radio commercials. Suddenly, the giddy Victory Bells ran into the theater "because the train was late" carrying trunks, rushing to get ready for the show, and visiting with audience members. During intermission, I browsed through the World War II themed books in the lobby as more big band music poured from the theater. And, at the end of the show, the Victory Bells asked us to "Buy Bonds" and then began to pack-up for their next stop on the home-front tour. I thoroughly enjoyed this concept, and I think that having more appearances of the Victory Bells would have had a negative effect on the play. The Victory Bells are trained professionals after all (as one may see from their "bio's"), and abiding by older (typically less realistic) styles of acting usually just serves to annoy rather than please contemporary audiences. As this concept was executed, every line forced me to question the nature of war, patriotism, and gender roles. Hats off to director, Angela Tonn, for making me really think.
Performances in this production were generally outstanding. If acting is re-acting, then Jennifer Dersin should win the prize. As the Boy, the Constable, and a Conspirator, she consistently conveyed multiple layers of thoughts and emotions. Often, I was simply unable to remove my eyes from her stunning performance. Ana Moreira was both hilarious and touching as Captain Fluellen. Her broad brogue and large presence made this character delightful. Rachel Garner smoothly switched between the sweet Katherine, the evil conspirator, the angered French duke, the sarcastic herald, and the inviting Chorus in an impeccable display of range. Candace Holdorf achieved a similar feat, switching between the lovable, intellectually challenged, nonsense-talking Nym, the scheming conspirator, and the down-right evil, manipulative, and murderous Dauphin. The cast as a whole was generally very talented and worked well as an ensemble.
So, why only four stars?
I was rather dissatisfied by one performance. And, unfortunately, this was the performance given by Kimberly Jurgen in the role of Henry. Jurgen spent the play endlessly and meaninglessly dragging through her lines. On the rare occasions that she did seem to understand what she was saying, her physical and vocal character choices were either bland or just plain strange (literally WHISPERING "Once more into the breech!"). In short, I sat appalled and offended by the obvious lack of thought behind her character as she blankly stared into space during yet another "dramatic pause."
Overall, I did enjoy this performance of Henry V, and I recommend it highly. There are many artful momments in this show that simply should not be missed!

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