It's taken 17 years for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company to get around to staging King John. With only four more beyond this one to complete the cycle of producing all 37 of Shakespeare's plays, CSC is headed to a position that few theater companies can boast about.
If you saw the company's production of A Lion in Winter in the fall of 2009, you were introduced to Henry II and his feisty wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, not to mention their three feuding sons. Now the whiny brat John has ascended to the throne, sewing the seeds for even more contention in the kingdom. Billy Chace played John in the 2009 production, and now he's back as John's older but equally obnoxious self; Sherman Fracher reprises her portrait of Eleanor, now the new king's mother with issues of her own.
It's a bitchy story about nasty people, but, hey, it's by Shakespeare, and you might never have another chance to see it. There's been enough demand for tickets that CSC has added a final weekend of performances to round out the run, Feb. 3-5. But this is the weekend to go see it — not much else onstage, and a lot more coming in the weeks ahead.