I went in knowing next to nothing about the production, and from the first moments was captivated. Telling the story of Henry VIII's last wife, Catherine Parr, and her relationship with the King, her lover, and the King's children, it takes a starkly modern view of language and relationship. Though the source material is history, the script is incredibly modern, filled to the brim with razor sharp wit and deep truth about the complexities of love.
Maev Beaty is sublime as Parr, who is every bit the intellectual equal (if not superior) to the King. She faces off against Joseph Ziegler's Henry, who is infuriating and tempestuous, yet also kind when he chooses to be. The three children are delightfully modern - as the gothic older teen, Sara Farb oozes acidic disdain for the adults around her, while Bahia Watson is charming as the younger Elizabeth, sweet and innocent, but increasingly wise to the challenges presented to her by her gender and position.
The design must be mentioned here as well; the modular and very simple steps transform into multiple spaces with ease, and the costumes each hold a visual reference both to pop culture, and to their historical counterpart. The lighting complimented this beautifully, and served to underscore the importance of characters in the story.
Hennig's script creates 6 challenging characters, and 3 incredible women that are a gift to actors. It isn't often you come across a new play that holds such an inherent timelessness in its understanding of relationships and power. This play needs to be on the reading lists for every University's theatre courses in Canada. Now.