BWW Reviews: A MAN OF ALL SEASONS stands out at NextStop Theatre

BWW Reviews: A MAN OF ALL SEASONS stands out at NextStop Theatre

It is the sixteenth century in England and our rag tag tour guide is the Common Man. The Common Man takes you along as a witness to Sir Thomas More's clashes with King Henry VIII. Will Sir More, a prominent lawyer and statesman, stand up for his heartfelt beliefs or will he allow his fellow politicians to trump them?

NextStop Theatre Company's production of A Man of All Seasons, written by Robert Bolt, draws the audience into pivotal moments of Sir Thomas More's life and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The beauty of A Man of All Seasons is the wonderful balance between the comedy and drama. Todd Huse, who portrays Sir Thomas More, gives a dynamic performance. While Huse is able to give us the religious scholarly side, he also shows us a side of Sir Thomas More that isn't often in our history books: the family man. This side is perhaps the most enjoyable to watch. Huse's interactions with Megan Behm, who portrays Lady Margaret More, and Laura Russell, who portrays Lady Alice More, are heartfelt and sincere. In turn, Behm and Russell play off of Huse's softness with wit and charm.

Michael Sherman, who portrays the Common Man, and Manolo Santalla, who portrays Senior Chapuys, provide much needed doses of comedic relief. Sherman's tongue-in-cheek banter and clever asides engages the audience in the play. Santalla's flamboyant movements across the stage and his flighty demeanor certainly gives the audience reasons to laugh. Bruce Rauscher, who portrays Thomas Cromwell, brings out the wickedness of his character to a point where it becomes quite frightening. Rauscher's Cromwell is intense and manipulative. He heightens the political drama through his interactions with Huse. Rauscher and Huse's interactions are electric and they captivate the audience during their time on stage together. Sun King Davis, who portrays King Henry VIII, brings out the psychotic side of the well known king to another level. The only small flaw of A Man of All Seasons is the pacing. During Act I, the pacing of the play is slow due to long scene changes, but the cast is able to recover by Act II.

The play's lighting, designed by AnnMarie Castringno, is simple and greatly enhances the scenes. Her design effectively uses intense shadows and small pools of light to elevate the production's drama. The sound, designed by Stan Harris, is subtle, but powerful. From the ringing of the church bell to the chirping of insects, it enhances the atmosphere of the play without overpowering the actors. The set, designed by Joseph St. Germain, uses the space well by adding levels and depth to the stage. The details, such as the stone and the wood on a door, look very realistic.

Overall, this captivating production, directed by Gloria DuGan, is surely one that you don't want to miss.

NextStop Theatre Company's A Man of All Seasons runs through June 21st. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Photo caption and credit: Todd Huse, Bruce Rauscher, and Lyle Blake Smythers in A Man for All Seasons at NextStop Theatre - (Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.)

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