This is a quickie, although I'm hoping to write a more formal review in the next couple of days, but this show deserves attendance, and so I'm going to tell you right now to: GO SEE "KING JOHN"!
This is simply a phenomenal production. Every production element, every individual, every performance is top-notch. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an ensemble of some of Seattle's best female performers - strike that - performers period - together on-stage in a simple, straight-forward, intensely focused production. Director Rosa Joshi makes a welcomed return to the Seattle theatre scene with an intelligent, articulate, purposeful and completely engaging from start-to-finish staging. In one sense,"King John" is a logical and perhaps inevitable response to the call of Seattle Shakespeare Company's recent all-male "The Taming of The Shrew", but far from being a "gimick", this production should serve to remind us of why we keep doing theatre; and more importantly, why theatre still matters in our media-saturated society.
It seems grossly unfair to pick out favorites from the 13 member cast, but Amy Thone, as John, Seattle newcomer Gretchen Kritch, as King Philip of France, and Peggy Gannon as Philip Falconbridge are standouts amongst a cast of outstanding performances. Guys, get ready for some serious competition, because these women may soon be auditioning for your roles!
Finally, I have to make note that this is an Equity Members' Project Code production. For those of you who don't know what that means, in brief, this is a mechanism that allows Equity members to self-produce without the normal compensation and benefits packages generally required when under contract. To every Equity actor who bemoans the fact that they can't work on the fringe - well, here's the blueprint that makes it possible. And believe me, this production should serve as inspiration to any union performer who's tired of sitting around, waiting for the phone to ring. This production sets an extremely high bar for anyone to surmount, but if it is also a general indication of the calibre of performance we should expect from future EMPC shows (and I for one, hope there are many more that follow in its wake), then it promises great things.
"King John" only runs for three weekends, so DO NOT miss this opportunity to see some of Seattle's best at their best.