Her Majesty the King HERE Arts Center 145 Sixth Avenue 212-868-4444
Playwright Sarah Overman has a hit with her thrilling new historical drama, a retelling of the War of the Roses from the perspective of Queen Margaret, who came to England from France at age 15 to marry Henry VI. While history has painted Margaret as a vicious, brutal ruler, Overman opts to cast her in a heroic light as a woman whose only real fault was her manly ambition. Overman uses two actresses to play the queenas a girl and as an adultskillfully flashing back and forth between them. Michael Keyloun lightens the drama as a comic, childlike Henry VI who refuses to sleep with young Margaret (Lisa McCormick) to produce an heir. When he cedes control to the House of York, the adult Margaret, played by the excellent Diana LaMar, steps in and raises an army to win back the throne for her son (fathered by her lover). Director Patrick McNulty works magic with a minimalist set of curtains and a rolling platform that doubles as a bed and a throne. Battle scenes are creatively vivified with recordings of cheering men and booming drums. Eight talented cast members play 16 parts, with an honorable mention going to Jason Kolotouros as Margaret's hilariously bitchy French cousin Louis the Spider King, wearing the world's worst curly-haired wig.