Thursday, October 23, 2014

reviews - KING JOHN, Southwest Shakespeare Company

Maren Maclean as Constance
photo by Mark Gluckman
KING JOHN at the Southwest Shakespeare Company runs through Saturday, October 25th - click here for more information.

“the current production at the Mesa Arts Center is a must-see for Shakespeare completists, as this play is rarely performed….directed by Sakren in a lean two-hour staging, is briskly paced and easy to follow, which is no mean feat amid the thicket of lordly titles and convoluted blood relationships in medieval England. …one of Shakespeare's cleanest and least problematic… Maren Maclean, one of the Valley's top actresses, is appropriately fiery (and, later, tragically quenched) as Constance, who seeks to put her son Arthur on John's throne….. a solid ensemble overall, with several fine turns in minor roles that help make this plot-heavy play zip along….battles, betrayals and a boisterous Philip the Bastard, a wise-cracking, mercurial figure who seems at first to care only about his own gain but turns out to be his own kind of lionhearted…..portrayed by Los Angeles actor Ross Hellwig (with) bubble and spark.” 

Jesse James Kamps and Liam Thibeault
photo by Devon Adams
 “….a high energy political power struggle…..Maren Maclean delivers a powerhouse of emotions in her portrayal of Arthur's mother Constance. Her outbursts show her capable range and intensity, and the pained anguish she instills in Constance once her son is captured is superb….Jesse James Kamps is terrific; he intuitively shows Hubert's dilemma when forced to do John's dirty work….meaty parts, an understandable story, and is a swift production—running just two hours with intermission. With an almost perfect cast, impressive direction, and fighting scenes that are fast and furious, Southwest Shakespeare's production is not only recommended for Shakespeare fans and Shakespeare completists, but for those who enjoy historical dramas and suspense and yes, even "Game of Thrones" fans.” 

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