Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
1 Henry IV
The Folger Theatre is presenting a straightforward and engaging production of William Shakespeare's 1 Henry IV. Paul Mason Barnes, making his Washington directing debut, has assembled an accomplished cast with three strong anchors: Delaney Williams, a spirited and appealing Sir John Falstaff; Rick Foucheux, a grave and intense King Henry IV; and Tom Story as Prince Hal, torn between the extremes of hedonism and duty.
Tom Story and Rick Foucheux
The audience senses the unsettled nature of the English court before a single actor appears, thanks to Tony Cisek's scenic design: burnished metallic walls stand at vertiginous angles and a tapestry map of England hangs on the back wall. Cisek cleverly echoes the existing architectural features of the theater with a fallen column that resembles the two permanent pillars on the stage.
Shakespeare's play covers a period of political intrigue in medieval England. Henry IV gained the throne after deposing his cousin, Richard II, and now he faces a challenge from young Henry Percy, or Hotspur (David Graham Jones). The king worries thatunlike the warlike and disciplined Hotspurhis own son, Prince Hal, would rather carouse with the charming but corrupt Falstaff than take his place as a leader.
With his golden hair and clean-shaven face, Story retains a youthful look even when he's robbing travelers and drinking heavily in a seedy tavern. He seems almost beatific compared with his scruffy friend Ned Poins (Matthew R. Wilson) and pockmarked Lieutenant Bardolph (Steve Beall), not to mention the eternally unkempt Falstaff. Williams plays the self-described "fat knight" with a winning awareness of his faults and a lack of flash for its own sake, a fine counterbalance to the more serious performance of Foucheux.
Also giving noteworthy performances are David Bryan Jackson as the emotional Welsh nobleman Owen Glendower, Brian Hemmingsen as Hotspur's intense father, and Ellen Adair as Hotspur's fiercely loving wife.
1 Henry IV
October 8th November 16th
By William Shakespeare
The King, His Sons, and Allies:
Henry Bolingbroke, King Henry IV: Rick Foucheux
Henry, Prince of Wales (Hal), his eldest son: Tom Story
Prince John of Lancaster, his younger son: Christopher Dinolfo
Earl of Westmoreland, his brother: Keith E. Irby
Sir Walter Blunt: Kevin Pierson
Ned Poins, friend to Hal: Matthew R. Wilson
Henry Percy (Hotspur): David Graham Jones
Lady Percy, his wife: Ellen Adair
Earl of Worcester, his uncle: Jan Knightley
Earl of Northumberland, his father: Brian Hemmingsen
Page to Hotspur: Adriano Gatto
Sir Edmund Mortimer, brother of Lady Percy: Marcus Kyd
Lady Mortimer, his wife: Kaitlin Manning
Owen Glendower, her father: David Bryan Jackson
Douglas, Lord Archibald of Scotland: Mark Krawczyk
Sir Richard Vernon: Matthew R. Wilson
At the Boar's Head Tavern, Eastcheap:
Sir John Falstaff: Delaney Williams
Mistress Quickly: Anne Stone
Lieutenant Bardolph: Steve Beall
Master Gadshill: Mark Krawczyk
Peto: Patrick McAndrew
Francis: Christopher Dinolfo
Barmaid: Kaitlin Manning
Sheriff: Marcus Kyd
Soldiers/Travelers: Christopher Dinolfo, David Bryan Jackson, Marcus Kyd, Kaitlin Manning, Patrick McAndrew
Directed by Paul Mason Barnes
201 E. Capitol St., S.E.
Ticket Information: 202-544-7077 or www.folger.edu
Photo: Carol Pratt
-- Susan Berlin
Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.