Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Henry IV, Part 2
Shakespeare Theatre Company

Also see Susan's coverage of the Helen Hayes Awards and reviews of The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Henry V, Part 1

Matthew Amendt and Edward Gero
The production of Henry IV, Part 2 currently at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre Company brings William Shakespeare's two-part saga to a thoughtful and majestic conclusion. Director Michael Kahn works comfortably with the same actors as in Henry IV, Part 1, some of them in different roles, plus a few notable additions.

The story picks up after the Battle of Shrewsbury, when the king (Edward Gero) and his heir Prince Hal (Matthew Amendt) defeated the rebel leader Hotspur. The drama is more diffuse in Part 2 than in Part 1 as the rebel leaders split into factions, King Henry's second son Prince John (Patrick Vaill) leads the campaign against the rebellion, and Falstaff (Stacy Keach) begins to come to terms with his mortality. The lovely, elegiac scene in which Falstaff visits his ponderous old friend Justice Shallow (Ted van Griethuysen) in a Gloucestershire orchard is a highlight of this production.

Amendt ably shows Prince Hal growing up, away from his escapades with Falstaff and toward his destiny as a responsible ruler. Both he and Gero are at the top of their game in the moment when the ailing king and the restless prince finally have a straightforward conversation. Vaill commands the stage in the scene when he faces the rebel leaders.

All this is not to say that Part 2 is utterly serious. Tavern keeper Mistress Quickly (Kate Skinner) and prostitute Doll Tearsheet (Maggie Kettering), the two women in Falstaff's life, are vividly funny in their scenes, and van Griethuysen walks off with the play whenever he appears, assisted by Bev Appleton as the doddering Justice Silence. Keach, of course, shines both in Falstaff's cheerful duplicity and his ultimate heartbreak.

Alexander Dodge has created a scenic design that seems simple—a curving wall of vertical planks decorated with a backlit map of England—but cleverly converts into settings from royal chambers to battlefields.

Shakespeare Theatre Company
Henry IV, Part 2 March 25th —June 8th, in repertory with Henry IV, Part 1
By William Shakespeare
The Royal Family
King Henry IV: Edward Gero
Henry, Prince of Wales, surnamed Hal, son to the King: Matthew Amendt
Prince John of Lancaster, son to the King: Patrick Vaill
Prince Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, son to the King: Alex Piper
Thomas, Duke of Clarence, son to the King: Nathan Winkelstein
Earl of Westmoreland, cousin to the King: Craig Wallace
The Percy Family
Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland: Kevin McGuire
Lady Northumberland, his wife: Julia Brandeberry
Lady Percy, Hotspur's widow, daughter-in-law to Northumberland: Kelley Curran
Travers, servant to Northumberland: Jack Powers
Allies to the King
Lord Chief Justice, of the King's bench: Derrick Lee Weeden
Gower, clerk to the Lord Chief Justice: Bev Appleton
Earl of Warwick: Kevin McGuire
Earl of Surrey: Michael Crowley
Servant to the Lord Chief Justice: Alex Piper
Allies to the Rebellion
Richard Scroop, Archbishop of York: Steve Pickering
Lord Hastings: Aaron Gaines
Thomas Mowbray, Earl Marshal: Rhett Henckel
Lord Russell: Joel David Santner
Sir John Colville: John Keabler
Sir John Falstaff: Stacy Keach
Mistress Quickly, hostess of the tavern: Kate Skinner
Ned Poins, follower of Falstaff: Jude Sandy
Bardolph, follower of Falstaff: Brad Bellamy
Peto, follower of Falstaff: Matthew McGee
Pistol, follow of Falstaff: Steve Pickering
Doll Tearsheet, a whore: Maggie Kettering
Page, to Falstaff: Max Jackson
Fang, an officer: Chris Genebach
Snare, an officer: Matthew McGee
Tavern musicians: John Keabler, Alex Piper, Nathan Winkelstein
Peasants: Julia Brandeberry, Vanessa Sterling
Justice Shallow, a country justice: Ted van Griethuysen
Justice Silence, his cousin, also a country justice: Bev Appleton
Davy, Shallow's servant: Ade Otukoya
Ralph Mouldy: Joel David Santner
Simon Shadow: Brendon Schaefer
Thomas Wart: Luis Alberto Gonzalez
Francis Feeble: Matthew McGee
Peter Bullcalf: Chris Genebach
Directed by Michael Kahn
Harman Center for the Arts, Sidney Harman Hall
610 F St. N.W.
Washington, DC
Ticket Information: 202-547-1122 or 877-487-8849 or

Photo: Scott Suchman

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