Ginna Hoben as Helena and Aidan O'Reilly as Bertram in All's Well That Ends Well. Photo by Mike Bailey.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
All's Well That Ends Well
We saw All's Well That Ends Well at the American Shakespeare Center on the Pay What You Will Opening night. As always, I was greeted with a big smile and a hug from Rick Blunt. Rick typically warms the crowd up and circulates among the crowd chatting with people. He's a great guy who I've gotten to know over the past year and a great actor, and he does a wonderful job as Parolles, the cowardly blow-hard. Be sure to check Rick out this Holiday season as he takes on the role of Crumpet the Elf in the Santaland Diaries. It will be an absolute blast! I also got to chat with Jamie Nelson, another fun guy, and he and I joked around for the rest of the weekend, mostly because he sold me a raffle ticket with the number 666. I had seen him in A Christmas Carol in December and thought he did a fantastic job, and he was great again in this play, playing LaFew, Parolles' foil. His voice is wonderful and he really captures the bearing & carriage of an aristocrat. Aidan O'Reilly has the unenviable task of trying to make Bertram likable, and while that is certainly a tall order, he did a fantastic job in this difficult role. Ginna Hoben plays our heroine, the unrequited Helena. Ginna was fantastic in all three plays this season, but exceptionally strong in this role. I'm always impressed with her work, particularly in comedies, but she rocked this more dramatic role with ease. Another terrific performer was Curt Foy as the clown Lavatch. Lavatch is a very crude character, and Curt was great as the lascivious clown. Dennis Henry, who also acts as assistant director on all three spring season plays, put in a strong performance as the King of France. I could tell Dennis was having allergy issues or a cold, which makes his performance all the more impressive. I can't imagine doing that at less than 100 percent. He's always a solid performer and it's a treat seeing him on the stage. The music, as always, was great, though the crowd was a bit loud, making it hard to hear. That's a shame, because Joseph Rende is an incredible guitar player. Luckily, he was heard loud & clear in the other two performances. Be sure to pay special attention to him when you see any of the three spring shows, he throws in some great flourishes when you least expect them. Speaking of great musicians, I ran into Chris Johnston and told him how much I enjoyed his work this past Renaissance Season and complimented him on his musical performances as well. He's a really nice guy, a terrific actor, and I can't wait to see his work this summer/fall. This is a fantastic performance of a somewhat problematic play (is it a drama? a comedy?) with an unlikable hero and a very likable villain.