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The Lion in Winter

a Comedy/Drama
by James Goldman

COMPANY : Lionheart Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : College Street Playhouse
ID# 3554

SHOWING : November 06, 2009 - November 22, 2009



In 1183, King Henry II summons his sons Richard, John, and Geoffrey to join him and his prison-bound wife Eleanor at Chinon for a family Christmas, along with King Philip II of France and his sister Alais, Henry's mistress. The outcome of this may decide the very future of England. Virtually everyone present are masters of double-dealing and deceit, so it will be a lively Yuletide.

Director Adriana Warner
Stage Manager Tim Link
Eleanor of Aquitaine Jane Bass
Prince Geoffrey Jason Caldwell
Alais Jessica Fowler
King Henry II Bob Smith
Prince Richard Edward Smucygz
Prince John Michael Stamm
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


The Lionheart in Autumn
by playgoer
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Lionheart Theatre Company's production of "The Lion in Winter" is a proud addition to its season. Adriana Bosna Warner, the director, has worked her magic at another area theatre, once again creating a production that is greater than the sum of its parts.

And what parts there are! The roles of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine are two of the juiciest roles in the modern theatre. Here, they are given complex, nuanced performances by Bob Smith and Jane Bass. Bob's forceful control is flavored with moments of self-knowing humor, and the more romantic scenes of Henry with his wife Eleanor and his mistress Alais (played winningly by Jessica Fowler) bring out his charm. Jane's more subtle control gives a tragic streak to her performance, with real motherly or wifely emotions always informing her sometimes ruthless behavior.

The sons, played by Edward Smucygz (stolid, forthright Richard), Jason Caldwell (crafty Geoffrey), and Michael Stamm (pusillanimous, spoiled John) add varied flavors to the mix. Adam Mayo, as young King Philip of France, makes a promising stage debut. The performances have been melded into complementary textures, all working toward the show's overall effect. I only wish the cast hadn't been directed to over-enunciate the "t" in words like "better."

The set is the best I've seen so far at Lionheart. The imposing stone walls, beautifully painted by Katy Clarke, frame the scene. Tapestry-like draperies dress the side walls, and a rich collection of mismatched chairs flow through the action. The dungeon scene is set in front of the stage proper, using lighting and a collection of barrels to define a new space. The rest of the show plays in a unit set centered by a gorgeous wood mantel loaned by The Milner Group. The set decoration by Pam Fox and the costumes by Catherine Thomas add to the stunning visual effect of the production.

What really unites the elements of the production, though, is the scene changes. Each is accompanied by period music and by the lighting or extinguishing of a few candles scattered across the playing space. The quiet, ritualistic manner of these moments gives a medieval flavor to the production and sets the stately, yet never-lagging pace of the production.

The audience at the performance I saw was filled with a collection of theatre people from a number of different regional theatres (Alliance Acting Program, Kudzu, New Dawn, Act1). These people should know good theatre when they see it, and see it they did at Lionheart. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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