Chicago Tribune - Recommended
"...There's much to admire in Gaines' ambitious, accessible leather-and-shafts-of-light production. Surely conceived as a showcase for Chicago Shakes--indeed, for Chicago theater and its fine actors--numerous moments and performances do the city proud. The storytelling is clear and intelligent. The show has a beating heart. The core of each scene is directed with integrity, intelligence and simplicity. And the casting is laudably unconventional."
Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended
"...The large cast of more than 20 offers many standout turns: Robert Scogin's formidably unbending Lord Chief Justice; Jay Whittaker's chilly Prince John; John Reeger's mystical Owen Glendower; Kevin Gudahl's heated Earl of Douglas; Bruce A. Young's stately Northumberland; Timothy Edward Kane's slick Poins; Lusia Strus' salty but soft-hearted Mistress Quickly; Jessie Mueller's silver-voiced, Welsh-speaking wife to Edmund (the excellent Brian Herriott). But it is the work of those old masters -- Mike Nussbaum and Dale Benson, as two codgers remembering the old days -- that is truly priceless and that reminds us, yet again, that Shakespeare was nothing short of a wizard."
SouthtownStar - Highly Recommended
"...A daring back-to-back production of two plays ó separated by a dinner break ó it soars with Barbara Gaines' exquisite direction and an ensemble of Chicago's most talented performers."
Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended
"...Thanks to some trimming of both parts of Henry IV, Barbara Gaines's theatrical marathon--five hours plus, with 40 minutes for dinner--moves at a sprightly pace. And though her take on Shakespeare's double whammy is by no means revolutionary, she wisely drives home the point that the heart of the story is a turf war between blue-blooded gangsters, focusing on the cowardice and deceptions of both rebels and royals."
Windy City Times - Recommended
"...Director Barbara Gaines offers excellence without innovation in a reading of the paired works thatís strongly-acted, clear and traditional. In no way modernist, Henry IV, Parts I and II nonetheless speak to our times as the warriors and politicians of the royal court and their enemies are almost always aware that power hasómust haveóits constraints, even the power of kings, while Falstaffís mock court is unconstrained."
Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended
"...Director Barbara Gaines has never been afraid of grafting such pop-culture themes onto the Bardís plays to make them go down smoother. Itís a maneuver thatís built an empire on Navy Pier, created a new generation of Shakespeare goers and twisted the knickers of many a purest. But, ironically, while Gainesís straight-and-narrow, gimmick-free version presented here.., a little bit of her populist touch is whatís missing here."
ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended
"...The production values, elocution of the players and the swift pace all contributed to a most engaging epic that delivers a rare theatrical treat. Donít miss this opportunity to see such a terrific cast perform one of Shakespeareís finest epics."
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Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended
"...The two-play marathon makes huge demands of its audience's time and patience, and in the Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Trans-Atlantic mounting, that investment pays off. Chicago theatergoers already know what a treasure we have in this World-class company. It's high time we share our treasures with the rest of the world. Director Barbara Gaines' all-star production, which moves from Chicago to London where it will represent the United States in a comprehensive Royal Shakespeare Company Complete Works Festival, is a remarkable accomplishment."