No, I didn't see the Michael Moore documentary. I AM the sicko today -- home from work with a summer cold. And in case there was any doubt, let me assure you that summer colds suck. As if the heat doesn't leave you feeling weary enough, add in a head full of snot and your brain might as well be drenched in tequila for all the clarity available to you.
The only benefit of this is that it affords me the opportunity to ramble on blog-wise about life in general and Henry IV in particular. Before I succumbed to this viral villain, my lovely wife and I were able to sneak out last Friday and see the movie “You Kill Me,” which is a wonderful black comedy. If you are tired of explosions, animation or millions of dollars of CGI effects, check out this modest, sharply-acted, very funny movie.
At the movie, we ran into an old friend who used to write reviews and we lapsed into a little side-conversation about the perils of reviewing (not life-threatening usually, but soul-threatening). For instance, we shared the sentiment that, when you review some 150-200 movies a year like Daniel Neman, your ability to say anything new or interesting might indeed become severely limited. We also touched on something like the opposite problem: whereas Mr. Neman is pretty tiresome in his dismissal of 90% of movies as trash, it is also incredibly hard to find new ways to say “excellent” or to get the point across that a production is particularly noteworthy.
I wrote a pretty peppy little 300-word rave about Henry (which won’t appear in Style until 07/25 – sorry!) but, as I told our friend in the lobby of the Westhampton, what I really wanted to say was, “You know all of those other plays that I said were awesome? Forget all that, this one is REALLY awesome!”
Let’s start with the beginning (a very fine place to start, no?). Jack Parrish as Henry IV is riveting. Physically, emotionally, vocally, he is the most truly regal king I believe I have ever seen in a Shakespearean production. In writing my review, I kept searching for comparisons: “he’s as good as…” but frankly could not come up with anything that sufficed. His stature – tall, strong, commanding – married to that voice – gravelly but still dynamic – is unique and singularly appropriate for this Henry. I could totally see a son wanting to distance himself from such a father’s shadow, yet Jack also delivers the “come back to the fold” speech so earnestly, how could Hal not be inspired to better himself? The best thing I think Richmond Shakespeare could do is bring back Jack for Part 2. Promise me that and I’ll start working on my rave review right now to save time…
I really didn’t think things could get any better than that but then we meet Phil Brown as Hal. But I think I’ll have to ramble on about what amounts to my man-crush on Mr. Brown at a later date. I’m feeling the need for my third nap of the day creeping up on me.
But one last thing for today, I'm glad Ms. Haubenstock also found much to enjoy in Henry. My only disappointment would be the placement of the review in a not-so-prominent spot with a pretty low-impact headline. I guess that’s the way it goes there these days.