Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Henry IV part 1

Last night I took my Mum and Dad to see Henry IV Part 1 at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford. First of all, they had a good time, and although it tired them out I will definitely do this kind of thing more often with them.

The play was a very mixed bag. The actor who was to play Henry IV was off sick, and although the understudy was word perfect, he delivered the lines in that sort of rhythmic gabbling that passes for Shakespearean, so you hear something like

'These times our kingdom in our realm withall
My cousin Gloucester to my throne at York'

And you are like - what the hell did he just say? Alas the first scene is all the king and his ministers and I was utterly underwhelmed.

Luckily it then all perks up when Hotspur turns up, and then Hal. My dad, in the interval, said to me, 'Not only are almost all the characters men, but they are very manly men, like football supporters' and this is true. There was a large contingent of teenage girls in the audience who squealed madly at the end. Both Hotspur and Hal were forceful, projected their speeches well, you could tell what was going on, and it was fun. I'm a big fan of Hotspur in any case (talking about hot fictional characters).

Hal in particular I thought had that new Kenneth-Branagh style of Shakespeare delivery where it sounds both incredibly witty and quite natural and real.

Falstaff was played by David Warner ('Evil' in The Time Bandits). He was very uneven. Sometimes he was touching, thoughtful, laugh out loud funny. Sometimes he got set off gabbling away in rapid pentameters and you couldn't understand a word.

I have high hopes for Henry V (same actor playing Hal) which I'm going to see on the 13th.

  • Phew what a scorcher

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