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DALLAS Shakespeare's Henry IV normally runs in two parts. The Dallas Theater Center has trimmed it to one night and three hours, and it's a brilliant opener to their second season at The Wyly Theatre.

Kurt Rhoads returns home to play the title role as the eloquent king, troubled over the barroom behavior of his son.

The not-so-princely son is wonderfully played by Steven Walters. You feel his shame and his heartache.

The joy found inside this serious production of war and family arrives in the form of Randy Moore as the outrageous Falstaff. A former Dallas Theater Center star, Moore is a thin actor who makes you believe in his big character.

Henry IV features an almost all-male cast, complete with battle scenes in and around the audience. In fact if you sit close to the stage, expect to be involved.

The direction by Kevin Moriarty brings Shakespeare's words to life in a contemporary way; you'll understand everything.

And it's nice to see Kurt Rhodes and Randy Moore back in Dallas and in such fine command of their characters.

E-mail gcogill@wfaa.com

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