Aided by a superb supporting cast, Lambert's impassioned portrayal of the passionate Anne Boleyn is modulated, gentling down enough for us to believe her religious convictions are thoughtful as well as emotional. Kidd's Henry VIII conveys the expected arrogance, but with a constant knowing smile, and we can believe that his love for Anne is sincere, within the restraints and qualifications of a royal ego. Speaking of arrogance, not mentioned above is the role of Henry's chief minister and adviser, Thomas Cromwell, who has spies everywhere to keep him apprised of court alliances he needs to nip in the bud or cultivate. Jim O'Brien plays him with feral intensity but enough glimpses of intelligence to give him credit for conniving.
The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre staging the first US production of this play may warrant a slap on the back, but it's not really surprising, since they also premiered Brenton's controversial, fundamentalist-offending Paul two years ago. Most American theater audiences might not be familiar with the lauded British playwright, who was commissioned by Shakespeare's Globe to write Anne Boleyn, but it's understandable that he would be familiar with the Gamm.
, Anne Boleyn, Rachel Walshe, Howard Brenton, More