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East End Theater Review: Successful Opening Weekend Of "Wolf Hall" Exhibits The Magic Of Live Theater At North Fork Community Theatre

T.J. Clemente

Don't miss Wolf Hall at North Fork Community Theatre. (Photo: Elizabeth Wagner)

Due to COVID-19, the North Fork Community Theatre has canceled the remaining performances of Wolf Hall.

Wolf Hall Director Colin Palmer and Producer Laura Pearsall have created one wonderful show featuring the writing of Hilary Mantel, adapted by Mike Poulton. Wolf Hall was a big-time leap back in time that quite frankly delivers to the audience a chance to experience theater the way it should be. A high level of integrity through words, content and acting. Colin Palmer truly lands this show in the sweet spot of success through his skills in directing and bringing a diverse cast together in a magical way.

The play takes place in England, 1527 and Henry VIII still doesn't have a male heir. The kingdom is ready to explode in a powder keg of political and religious unrest. Based on the Man Booker Prize winning novel, Wolf Hall is the thrilling story of the rise of Thomas Cromwell, advisor to the king, mercenary, and ruthless Machiavellian.

I must start with the performance of Sky Wowak, who is dauntingly magical as Anne Boleyn. She has something special that just adds energy when she is on stage. Even in a sort of evil role, her acting power and presence was just so obvious. A roll of the eyes was worth three pages of dialogue. Her talent was on full display. However, there are so many unique quality performances that make this show such a wonderful production. John Tramontana's portrayal of Cardinal Wolsey has a gravitas that draws the audience into his threshold of power. Tramontana could take this role to Showtime cable and create a pheromonal series around his skills. Yet, then there is Christian Lepore's fantastic Thomas Cromwell. Heck, Christian Lepore doesn't portray Thomas Cromwell, he is Thomas Cromwell. His performance mesmerizes.

Kudos to Brian Trudden for his portrayal of Henry VIII. He showed great range, power and dexterity in the role. At time I thought Henry VIII was alive and on stage in front of me. Brian was that good.

Eric Momente brought a light-footed, yet intense quality to his role of Harry Percy. Momente looks and acts very comfortable on the big stage.

Huck Hirsh, with his unique interpretation of Thomas Moore, gives an award-winning performance. He was a crowd favorite throughout the show due to his intense in character acting skills, evening during the blackouts.

My friend Michael Horn was excellent as a forceful Duke of Norfolk. Sarah Storjohann is excellent as Queen Katherine. Storjohann's ability to project such great dignity is impressive.

Bill Gardner shined in a few roles, my favorite being Archbishop Warham. Justin D. Harris is a forceful presence as Thomas Wyatt; he is built for stage acting.

Megan Duffy is ever so delicate in her role as Princess Mary. John Yaiullo is excellent as Mark Smeaton. I enjoyed Wendy Peterson's complex interpretation of Jane Seymour. Peter Peterson brings welcomed energy to his role as George Boleyn.

Connor Liddell, in his various roles, gives the production his youthful energy, along with his wonderful stage smile - as does John Condon.

Jim Pearsall, who portrayed both Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Boley, was a towering presence and exhibited amazing acting dexterity.

Brianna Kinnier always brings a touch of class to every NFCT production she does. Once again, as Mary Boleyn, Kinnier exhibits her magic whenever she is on stage.

Both John Bradley and Michael Drozd are strong in their multiple roles and their efforts helps makes the show work its magic.

Wolf Hall is also a successful show because of the work, vision and insight of Director Colin Palmer, whose stage plan is brilliant. The play's Producer is Laura Pearsall, while the Assistant Director & Dance Consultant is AD Newcomer. Costume Design was amazingly handled by Diane Peterson. The Lighting Design is expertly done by Kayla Lessard.

Wolf Hall will be presented at the historic North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck from Friday, March 6 through Sunday, March 22. Shows will be held on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20.

Due to COVID-19, the North Fork Community Theatre has canceled the remaining performances of Wolf Hall.

North Fork Community Theatre is located at 12700 Sound Avenue in Mattituck. For more information, call 631-298-4500 or visit www.nfct.com.

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