Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1 is filled with complex and fascinating characters, and one of the most fascinating, at least as played by Geoffrey Kent, is Hotspur.
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Geoffrey Kent comes close to galloping away with the entire production in the role; his Hotspur is tough and quick to anger but also very funny, and both rough and tender…
As the arrogant and blustering French Doctor Caius, Geoffrey Kent is a comedic highlight, delivering lines in an overstated accent worthy of Monty Python and drawing on his full range of skills as CSF’s resident fight coordinator during a duel featuring golf clubs and a bible.
The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is in transition and its last season was uneven — but Geoffrey Kent’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream ransomed the summer.
“What I love about Shakespeare’s romances,” says Kent, musing on The Tempest, “is they contain the best of the tragedies and the best of the comedies. The play is able to swing from line to line from wonderful comedy to gripping tragedy, and that feels very human to me.”
Shakes patrons know the earnest side of Kent — as Lucius in “Titus Andronicus” and Mercutio in “Romeo and Juliet” — so it’s a treat to see how funny he can be. Kent’s Petruchio seems more bemused than angry at his hellion of a bride, which makes Gibson’s growling and stomping and pummeling even funnier.
Geoffrey Kent directs with a keen sense of sensuality (what an adonis that Cyex is) and wit that is quick becoming a trademark of the well-regarded actor-fight director as he helms more productions.
“The other comedies are laced with history jokes and jokes on the reign of the current queen,” Mr. Kent said. ” ‘Midsummer’ doesn’t have any of that. You don’t need footnotes to understand why it’s so funny.”
Kent’s approach to Shakespeare is respectfully disrespectful… and the wonderful thing is that while everyone on stage is clearly having a good time, nobody’s self-absorbed, hamming it up or stepping on anyone else’s toes, thanks to director Geoffrey Kent’s terrific structure and pacing.
“It’s magic, it’s the art of misdirection,” says Kent, president of the Society of American Fight Directors. “I’ve got to chop a hand off in plain sight. The audience knows I didn’t really do it — but for one split second they have to believe it.”