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Onstage: The Lion in Winter

By Tom McElfresh · September 19th, 2009 · CityBeat Recommends
Imagine the result if Noel Coward had written King Lear. Imagine the savagery that families reserve for their most bitter internecine battles but verbalized in the lilting, wit-lit language of drawing-room comedy. That’s the effect of The Lion in Winter, the James Goldman script that stumbled on Broadway in 1966 but has since become a staple with regional, university and community theaters.

Now it’s opening Season 16 at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC) with seven most familiar and ordinarily persuasive performers directed by artistic guru Brian Isaac Phillips.

It’s 1183. Henry II — King of England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and most of France — gathers together a Christmas party that is certain to produce fireworks: his scheming wife (Eleanor of Aquitaine), his rebellious sons (Richard the Lionheart; angry, overlooked Geoffrey; and bumptious John), his current mistress (French princess Alais) and the French King (Philip Capet). His doomed purpose: Cement the succession, soothe wounded ambitions and settle bloody conflicts that divide the family.

Thursday-Sunday through Oct. 11. Tickets are $20-$26.

Read Tom McElfresh's full review here.



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