Henry V | City Lit Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Johnny Knight

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 1 2017
Price: $25 ($20 in advance), $15 students and seniors
babeswithblades.org
The all-female Babes With Blades Theatre Company delivers a smart, stirring rendition of Shakespeare’s historical drama about England’s Henry V, the 15th-century warrior king with a commoner’s touch, and his conquest of France during the Hundred Years’ War. Hayley Rice’s bare-bones, low-budget, high-energy staging (with fight choreography by Kim Fukawa) captures the juxtaposition of rousing action, rough comedy, and poetic philosophizing that characterizes this great play, which celebrates military valor while mourning the human cost of war. Diana Coates is a charismatic, commanding Henry, ably supported by a ten-woman ensemble in multiple roles (their lightning-fast costume changes are as impressive as their wordplay and swordplay). Alison Vodnoy Wolf, a Chicago theater newcomer recently arrived from Cincinnati, is especially charming as Henry’s French bride, Catherine of Valois, in the comic bilingual courtship scene that climaxes the play. —Albert Williams

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