GreenStage: Shakespeare in the Park

Director Teresa Thurman does well to ham up the early scenes of, King John, Shakespeare’s obscure play about the crown scrimmage that follows the death of Richard the Lionheart. One sees why it was popular in its time: Pretenders to a contested throne provide an absorbing and intricate if superficial plot. John’s moral journey does not hold a candle to Hamlet’s, Lear’s, or Hal’s, but some secondary characters are startlingly affecting. Constance (Erin Day), mother of John’s inconveniently popular and legitimate young nephew Arthur, displays an impressive prism of emotional angles from stage-motherly machinations to comedic warmongering to deranged grief; Philip “The Bastard” (Daniel Stoltenberg) proves a deliciously facile, provocative red herring. MARGARET FRIEDMAN In The Comedy of Errors, befuddled wife Adriana (six-foot plus Patrick Bentley) out-prisses Perez Hilton in her corset and bonnet, and the twin Antipholi (Courtney Bohl and Jessica Stepka) bellow deep in their nonexistent beer guts with manly vigor through their various outrages of mistaken identity. But my favorite chick-with-a-dick is Michael Blum as the "Courtezan" (think Danny DeVito in a Marie Antoinette getup, and you're only halfway to how indecently funny Blum is in a skirt). Whether hops, face-flops, or assault with a deadly baguette, director Ryan Higgins tries everything to get a giggle out of the audience. Almost. JENNA NAND

Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: July 10. Continues through Aug. 15, 2009

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