By Mary Boyle
Even if you've never seen Shakespeare's Henry V, it's likely that you're familiar with these words from the play:
From this day to the ending of the world,
This is the story of the young English King, Henry, son of Henry IV and the second English monarch from the House of Lancaster, who invaded France and won the Kingdom at the famed Battle of Agincourt.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Dramatic. Powerful. There's even a little romance with Catherine. How could it possibly get better? Why, you add some bourbon, of course! The Bard & Bourbon Theatre Co., directed by Grace DeWolff, takes this amazing work and, with a sparse cast of 8 actors on a tiny stage with hardly any props, does it absolute justice, but then makes it completely unpredictable by getting one of the actors (a different one each night) completely drunk over the course of the play. Trust me, you don't want to miss this.
Zach Thomas Woods is an admirable Henry V, and the only cast member to play just one character. Ian Tully shines as the Dauphin, Pistol, and Gower. Jeremy Jaymes La Belle, who was drunk when I saw the play, managed the French exchange wonderfully as Catherine's maid, Alice, and Ashley Retzlaff, who played Catherine, was impressive. Christopher Braunschweig was particularly notable as Bardolph. LeAnn Vance returns to B&B as Exeter, Susie Duecker makes her mark as Montjoy and the French King, among others, and Bekah Mitton rounds out the cast as Fluellen, Bourbon, and more. Once again, Bard & Bourbon proves that they do "Serious Shakespeare" with "One seriously drunk actor."
Henry V (drunk) runs through February 17th at the Underground Collaborative, located in the basement of the Grand Avenue Mall, 161 W. Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets can be purchased by calling (414) 792-9223, or online at https://www.bardandbourbon.com/