Geoffrey Kent’s Mercutio is juicy, funny and energetic. His rendition of the Queen Mab speech is superb — a textbook example of how to vivify a monologue everyone has heard a thousand times before — as is the way he handles Mercutio’s death with progressively weakening bursts of rage and frustration rather than the usual gallant attempt at humor.
Talented and leading-man handsome, with a big voice and presence, he booms some of the lines, throws himself on the floor to impersonate a tantruming infant, and twinkles relentlessly at the audience.
It’s hard to decide which of them is silliest. Mueller exuberantly portrays the heroines, Kent delights in taking every opportunity to create more confusion, and Mattfeld is soon is sucked into the accelerating chaos. Their inspired madness is infectious.
Geoffrey Kent is a terrific Benedick, a complete goof but capable of a genuinely moving dignity when required.
Truth be told, though, this is Kent’s show. He’s dashing, but approachably so, sturdy and worldly, yet boyish. Mostly, it’s Kent’s ability to reveal Benedick’s need for Beatrice that turns this from an evening of fun wordplay into a real romantic comedy.
The table scene, where the two face off in a test of wills, is a feat of physical theater. Though, no doubt, it was tightly staged by fight directory Geoffrey Kent, it doesn’t appear so as food, spoons, plates and bodies tumble and fly. It’s funny and terrifying at the same time.
Hurster and LeGrand are a revelation; their bruising ballet induced deserved opening-night gasps. It hurts to watch, and yet you can’t look away.
That’s because it is, intermittently, tons of fun. Geoffrey Kent, who doubles as fight director and plays romantic musketeer Aramis, has choreographed many huge fights that are precise, aerodynamic and, best of all, believable.
Fight director Geoffrey Kent directs as much roughhousing as a Democratic National Convention protest. These aren’t simply one-on-one duels. These are full-on battle scenes that often turn clever and comedic. It’s a very impressive display, and one that drew deserved applause from the audience on several occasions on opening night.
“Geoff Kent cuts through the play’s darkness — literal and figurative both — as a virtuous and good-hearted Macduff. He handles the scene in which he learns the fate of his family by going inward and contrasting the violence with stillness. It’s a powerful moment.”