Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre presents Shakespeare’s history “Henry IV” with a crazy twist.
“Henry IV,” which opened Thursday, heads into its concluding weekend with a moderate amount of hype.
The cast of “Henry IV” not only acted as the characters from the show, but they also acted as patients in an insane asylum. This addition to the show created a new interest for the audience members.
The cast members of “Henry IV” do a phenomenal job of acting as asylum patients who were acting as the characters. They successfully create a show within a show.
Being a Shakespearean show, the language can be difficult to understand and several audience members who want to see “Henry IV” or need to see it for a class may have trouble understanding what’s going on.
In this case, one should read a synopsis of “Henry IV” to better understand what happens in the show.
One aspect of the show that was incredibly enjoyable was the insertion of musical breaks. During Shakespeare’s time, musicians would come out for a pre-show and during intermission to sing songs of the age.
Some of the songs performed by the cast members include “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees and “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men.
The cast members perform well and still maintain their asylum patient characters during the songs.
The actors in the show had a challenge with performing with the Shakespearean language and playing two parts, but overall, they put on a great performance.
Though the show is named after him, King Henry IV does not appear in the show as often as one would think.
It would seem as though he’s only around when things are not as he wants them to be. Despite this his character, played by Nick Emmanuel, is quite memorable.
Conor Grey, who is mostly present during the first part, puts on a quite aggressive and somewhat intimidating performance as Hotspur.
His counterpart character, an asylum patient with anger issues, complements the performance well.
Grey later appears in the second act as Clarence.
Another noteworthy performance is put on by Luis Pontillo, who plays Prince Hal.
He was able to flip flawlessly from friend to the peasants to a “princely ruler.”
Brittnie Knight, as Bardolph, plays a drastically different character than what she’s been seen in before. Though she’s known to play strong, independent female roles, the tables turn as she playfully embodies the comical and cute Bardolph, servant to Falstaff.
Knight’s interpretation of Bardolph’s playful nature is executed incredibly well and full of energy.
New to the Schuster Theatre, Maggie Cooney, Bryan Rhines, Wilfried Atonfack and Grace Nosal all tackle the Shakespearean history for their first production. They all put on an excellent performance.
The production team makes it easier to tell the difference between the multiple characters by changing the accessories the asylum patients wear.
The actors also help by adjusting their mannerisms, helping the audiences to identify that the character is different.
All in all, The Schuster Theatre’s adaptation of “Henry IV” parts one and two puts an exciting new spin on the original.
The cast members make the language easy to follow if you don’t understand it, and they show that they really understand what they’re saying.
Showings of Henry IV will run Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Schuster Theatre. Tickets are free with a Gannon ID and $5 for the public. To reserve seats, call the box office at 871-7494.