by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

I was determined to sit ‘inside’ this performance. Bold enough, perhaps even intrusive enough, to take a seat in the front row on the stage in order to surround-sound myself by the emotional and intellectual volume of six of the most intriguing women in history. For these very women, whether by love, passion, friendship, excitement, strength or diplomacy, were the driving forces that thoroughly shaped one of the most volatile kings in the history of the pre-Renaissance British monarchy, and one could argue, the trajectory of the isle’s destiny for all time. It was worth the risk. They were (expletive) power houses!

Henry the VII is a king defined by women. On trial here in a Purgatory-like place, he now must face the Queens, the wives and mistresses he loved, used and wronged.

Divorced. Beheaded. Died. Divorced. Beheaded. Survived.

Throughout a riveting-to-the-core performance, every woman in Ladies in Waiting: The Judgement of Henry VIII takes her turn confronting Henry with the truth about their love, their disgust and the legacy that was created by their respective matches with a larger-than-life man considered to be one of the handsomest rulers of his time and the bloodiest. Henry ordered as many as 72, 000 executions during his reign (much more than his daughter “Bloody Mary”) including his most famous victims, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, two of his wives and his former top advisor Sir Thomas More.

This production arrives to the Hollywood Fringe for its U.S. debut already having been a sell-out hit at the Edinburgh Fringe. And it seems to have lost not a single whiff of its impact.

Absolutely stunning and compelling performances by actresses Hilary Kelman, Wendy Skuse, Laryssa Schoeck, Jennifr Haining, Elli Brown, and Claiborne Tomlinson with James Canfield as The Lion himself.

A spectacular triumph!

Very Highly Recommended