“A work of intelligence, astringent wit, and much theatrical skill.”-The New York Times

“THE LION IN WINTER” showing through April 29, 2012

by James Goldman
Performances Dates:
* Fridays & Saturdays at 8PM
* Sunday matinees at 2PM
For reservations and more call 707-524-8739

Gala Performance April 28 at 7:30 PM.

A special night featuring complimentary Korbel champagne, wines, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, non-alcoholic beverages, and an evening of acerbic laughs and matchless wit. Your $35 donation is Tax-deductible.

* all other performances are $15 General admission and $12 Seniors over 60 and Students with ID
* Still the lowest priced live theater experience in Sonoma County!

Comedy on the Edge

by James GoldmanA play about a dysfunctional family? Nothing new about that. In this family, however, things are just a little different. For one thing, the year is 1183 AD; and for another, these family members are English royalty (with a French king and his sister thrown in for good measure).

Welcome to James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter, where Henry II dukes it out with his estranged and rich queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, along with their scheming sons, John, Geoffrey and Richard (yes, that’s the Lionhearted one). There’s plenty of psychological weaponry here, but also plenty of potential knife-play, imprisonment, decapitation, warfare and banishment: all the fun toys that royals like to play with.

And play they do, with plots and counter-plots, witty dialogue, threats, lies and betrayals, a ll worthy of the Bard himself. But they also engage in very Shakespearean moments of biting humor, emotional beauty and endearment that we have grown to cherish.

Henry, Eleanor, and their twisted offspring are ancient historical figures from the distant past. But they remind us of people we know. They are, in a word, accessible; and quite potently so. They speak in modern language — embellished with a few contemporary metaphors and random anachronisms along with smart alliteration and clever descriptions of each other—so that we can readily identify with them, and even care about them. We also get to chuckle and laugh at them, an excellent way to develop an understanding of ourselves in the process.

Mark Gregory and Gretchen BelgraveThe play takes place on Christmas Eve for a family get together. Henry allows Eleanor one day out of prison for the Sacred Holiday. (Yes, she’s been there for ten years). This offers her the opportunity to plot against him once more with the help of her favored son, Richard. Yes, Richard is an ambitious warrior who is willing to go along with her ploys to grab everything he desires.

Geoffrey, the least favored, is “a device…he’s wheels and gears” always plotting with whoever has the advantage in order to gain power for himself and maybe become king after all have fallen. John, Daddy‘s favorite, is too indolent and a profligate to guard the advantages his father keeps planning for him. He’s always “ruining everything” and will “never learn”.

played by John Rowan and Clay MatthewsThrow in French Princess Alais, another attractive prize, and Richard wants everything for himself. But the King has other plans for Alais. Sounds familiar?

Curtain Call Theatre has assembled a fine cast of actors from its growing roster of talent:
mavericks Mark Gregory and Gretchen Belgrave; add new comers to CCT John Rowan, Diz Struffles, Clay Matthews, Crystal Carpenter, and Jake Hamlin; and you have a memorable and distinguished cast.

Directed by Michael Tabib and stage managed by Joe Potter, The Lion In Winter opens April 14. 2012 and plays on weekends for eight performances only through April 29 at Russian River Hall, 20347 Hwy. 116, Monte Rio (one block East of Rio Theater).

For reservations and more call 707-524-8739.

By Bob Hornback