By Ernest Kearney — In James Cougar Canfield’s historical play Ladies in Waiting: The Judgement of Henry VIII the “ladies” in question are the six wives of that oft-wed king, and their “waiting” is as a kind of celestial court, in which they shall pass subject on their king, lover and in some cases murderer.
Henry (Canfield) arrives in some spectral plane akin to limbo, or purgatory, then one by one his wives arrive to confront him regarding his treatment of them: Catherine of Aragon (Hilary Kelman), Anne Boleyn (Wendy K. Skuse), Jane Seymour (Laryssa Schoeck), Anne of Cleves (Jennifer Haining), Catherine Howard (Elli Stovall Brown) and Katherine Parr (Claiborne Tomlinson). The play, also by Canfield, is smartly and skillfully crafted, avoiding the pitfall of devolving into a repetitious “man-mash.”
Canfield flawlessly executes an emotional floor routine worthy of the Olympics, packed with saltos and double saltos expressing his remorse, defiance, passion and distain in facing each of them.
Director Mitchell Glass overcomes the limitations of a small stage and the hazards associated with placing a sizable cast on it with the precision and concentration of a master sculptor working on white marble.
His stage flows with a vigorous energy and elegant motion that guards and guides his cast from colliding in either chaos or clutter.
Not to be overlooked are Kaitlin Gould and Margaret Gorrell’s outstanding costumes that served Henry’s queens royally.
A solid GOLD MEDAL.
♦ ♦ ♦
Ladies in Waiting: The Judgement of Henry VIII
Selected as PICK OF THE HOLLYWOOD FRINGE FESTIVAL (2017)
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