HENRY IV, Part 1
What the Critics
“Acclaimed composer Billie Cox has created some intriguing music for these productions in ‘Shakespeare style,’ showcasing the vocal talents of Stephen Reynolds (Falstaff) and the Welsh-singing Lady Mortimer (Michelle Pava-Mills) whose voices are of great pitch and moment….Stephen Reynolds is certainly the star of the stage, and his rendition of Falstaff is witty, gluttonous, cowardly and knifing, in all ways lovable, and in his own way true….Jarion Monroe plays the title character and commands the stage as a sometime stoic, other times emotional King who is haunted by guilt, conjuring more psychology than politic….
Of course, politic must play some part in these histories, mostly represented by Hotspur (William Elsman) and the rebels on one side, and Prince John of Lancaster (Elias Escobedo) on the other. Escobedo nails his role as the good son who follows in his father’s footsteps of desire and duty, and is both cold and calculating in Part 2 when he manipulates and then executes the rebels of Mobray, Hastings, and the Archbishop. Elsman’s Hotspur is perfectly unsettling, circling the stage like a rabid beast, fiery and volcanic, gnashing his teeth while spitting and growling his words.”
Denise Battista, playShakespeare.com
“The surprise bonus to Marin Shakespeare Company’s staging two History plays is that they are superior productions, not just faithful renditions. These ‘Henry’ plays are rock-solid, with fun actors, terrific costumes, and strong direction. Actors with tremendous range make ‘Henry’ hilarious—and historical.”
Olga Azar, Marin Scope
“William Elsman is perhaps the most remarkable actor in the Marin troupe: as the eponymous Hotspur. Elsman’s performance will absolutely rock you back in your seat….Grant Goodman as Prince Hal acts with nuance and transparency. Stephen Reynolds is superb as Falstaff….Lighting, which can be a real challenge in a theatre without a ceiling or walls was brilliantly achieved by Ellen Brooks….Convenient free parking, abundant clean picnic tables, orthopedic thermal seat cushions, and a pleasant volunteer staff that will make you feel like a V.I.P. are all awaiting you in a eucalyptus copse in San Rafael.”
Jeffrey R. Smith, www.ForAllEvents.com
“And the man who embodies him here, veteran thespian Stephen Reynolds—making his Bay Area debut—takes the mug of sherry and runs with it. With his bushy, jutting eyebrows and round rosy face, Reynolds is the picture of jovial excess, lumbering around like a drunken bear one moment then prancing on tiptoes—often in pursuit of a fishnet-clad lady—the next. And his wheezing, breathless bellow belies a nimble tongue, off of which some of Shakespeare’s best and most engaging dialogue trips effortlessly….
As Hal, Grant Goodman pulls off a credible arc, gaining maturity and gravity as he gradually accepts his fate. Jarion Monroe brings a reserved dignity to the title role, simultaneously endowing the king with weight and fragility….At the same time, Marin Shakes deserves credit for taking a chance and providing theatre-goers with the rare opportunity to see the ballad of Henry IV as it’s creator intended (a few cuts have been made to trim the run time, but this is about as complete as you’re going to get)… this production brings out nearly all of the two plays’ charms, which are manifold….Co-directors Robert Currier and Rob Clare use the space to full advantage; actors slip behind the audience and sprint down the aisles during one hilarious scene involving a botched robbery.”
Jacob Shafer, Pacific Sun