THEATER: Jayne Atkinson, Treat Williams Roar and Clash in “The Lion in WInter” [Berkshire on Stage]

Review by Larry Murray

Treat Williams roars like a lion when his sons challenge him, while Jayne Atkinson quietly lies in wait, watching for her opportunity to strike back at the man responsible for her long confinement.

“What family doesn’t have its ups and downs?” asks Eleanor of Aquitaine in “The Lion in Winter” as the royal plots and plans swirl around King Henry’s palace at Chinon, France. It is Christmas, 1183, and she has been allowed out of prison and back across the channel to join Henry, his mistress Alnis Capet and his three sons Richard, John and Geoffrey. Their invited guest, Philip Capet, King of France, has no idea what an eventful holiday he is in for, since much of the deception and game playing also involves him as well.

Treat Williams as King Henry is truly Lord of the Manor as it is his incredibly fast mind that outwits and outsmarts every half-baked plan his sons come up with, while the fiery Eleanor is smarter than them all, sometimes even building deniability into her treachery.

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