COLORADODRAMA.COM — 'Henry IV, Part 1' is 'a delight ... gloriously complex ... comical'

July 23, 2014

By Bob Bows, ColoradoDrama.com 

It is a delight that director Carolyn Howarth chooses to stage this clever Tudor apology and take on royal succession and provincial rebellion in such an intimate manner and setting. 

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(Sam) Gregory's eloquence and empowerment as Henry do honor to the monarch's standing, as he scrambles to maintain his grip on power. (Geoffrey) Kent's Hotspur is gallant and deliciously reckless in his thirst to be revenged (for Henry's disregard for his father's role in putting him on the throne). (Michael) Winters' comical Falstaff carries over nicely from The Merry Wives of Windsor, with added layers of nuance and wit to reveal the complexities of his relationship with Hal (the future king of England, played by Benjamin Bonenfant), and in his reticence to face the rigors of battle. 

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Caitlin Ayer's flexible set enables quick segues, which keep the action moving swiftly. Jenna Bainbridge's madrigal rendition is a delight. 

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Photo: Benjamin Bonenfant, left, as Prince Hal, and Sam Gregory as Henry IV. Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado.