Regarding ‘Henry’: a review

For a Montford Park Players production, Henry IV, Part 1 is supported by a remarkably steady vision. It’s a cut version of the play, trimmed to two hours. Yet not much is lost in the pruning.

While the acting skill varied greatly from performer to performer, most players seemed at home in their roles. In Shakespeare productions, it’s often the case that the actors will say their lines with no idea of their meaning, but this doesn’t hold true with Montford’s Henry IV. In fact, a strong sense of story might be this production’s biggest bragging point.

Of particular note was Frank Avery’s take on Falstaff, in many ways the play’s principal comedic relief. Falstaff is the star of the show — and Avery does a remarkable job playing him: Imagine Burgess Meredith doing an impeccable impression of W.C. Fields in iambic pentameter, and you get a good idea of Avery’s success. Even through the antiquated phrasing, the actor was able to produce belly laughs from the crowd.

Although still far from a professional production — this is community theater, after all — Henry IV never became hard to watch (not the case with many previous Montford shows). At no point did poor direction, embarrassing performances or on-stage dead time interrupt the flow.

New guard, take a bow.

— Steve Shanafelt


Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.