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Falstaff Reviews

The Reviews are in!

Congratulations to Stacy Keach for his performance as Falstaff in both parts of Henry IV at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC.

“Falstaff, like Sherlock Holmes, is one of those characters who are so memorable they almost seem alive. He is at the center of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s magnificent Henry IV Part 1, and his bombastic charm vaults the play into the realm of Shakespeare’s finest. It is a privilege to see Stacy Keach in the role. His authority as an actor informs every aspect of his performance, from the humor to the lies to the brief flashes of anger. His achievement, and it is naturally an exceptional one, is to portray the many sides of Falstaff, the good and the bad, without judgment, matter-of-factly, with the grace of a dancer and the earthy wisdom of a well-beloved sage. Great acting and great writing combine to make this a Falstaff worth seeing again and again.”    -Sophia Howes, Metro Theatre Arts,  DC

“Keach is luminous as Falstaff! From his first appearance onstage to his last, Keach understands that he's to be the comedic relief and he excels in every moment. While overwhelming jolly and fat, Shakespeare has also given Falstaff the responsibility of discharging some of Henry IV, Part 1's most poignant observations, an area where Keach is at his best! ‘What is honor,’ he asks on the battlefield with a corpse lying near his side. The simplicity and power of the moment isn't lost. Only great actors can switch from handling Henry IV, Part 1's comedy and drama with such ease and Keach is one of them!” -Benjamin Tomchik, Broadwayworld, Washington DC

“One of the primary draws of Henry IV is the humor of John Falstaff, and Stacy Keach inhabits this character perfectly, at turns mincing and stumbling about the stage. His comedic performances are a breath of fresh air after the powerful rage of Hotspur and the brooding presence of King Henry. And his rapport with Hal lends a legitimacy to their friendship that could easily have been otherwise.” –Morgan Halvorsen, MD Theatre Guide, Washington DC

“Keach is magnetic as he draws out all the contradictory sides of Falstaff: charming and exasperating, a self-deceiver who tells lies both for fun and for self-preservation, a drunkard and voluptuary who truly cares for Prince Hal but also sees their friendship as a step back to respectability. His scenes with Amendt—whom the audience sees developing a conscience in the course of the action—strike sparks of intensity.”  –Susan Berlin,, Washington DC

“Falstaff is, arguably, a comic genius, providing you believe in the notion of genius, that is. Stacy Keach portrays this mythic figure with an earthy charm and a light touch, turning the tables on anyone who challenges him with urbanity and imagination. Physically, he resembles a Rembrandt self-portrait; mentally, he is as gifted as he is charming. He trudges manfully through life, tossing off brilliant witticisms as if it was the easiest thing to do in the world. This Falstaff is lovable as he woos the ladies, and he speaks of his age with a wistful air. His soliloquys create an intimate relationship with the audience, and his ode to sack is a highlight of the production. It is a triumphant performance.”     -Sophia Howes, DC MetroTheatre Arts, Washington, DC, Part Two.

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