One thing is certain, this is an unusual Henry V and it raises as many problems as it seeks to resolve. To its credit, the actors speak the text carefully and clearly, if uninterestingly. The stage is cleared of all unnecessary trappings. The story line is generally clear, even to someone who has had no previous experience with this play or with Shakespeare… In [the first half] of this production we see a Henry who is so preoccupied with the fun times of the past that he recalls them at every instance. When in pensive mood this Henry thinks not of the legitimacy of his claim to the throne, not of the wars spawned by his father … but of the memories of the man who tried his best to lead him astray … This Henry is a hollow man, devoid of warmth, of feeling, of intensity. He is unsure of himself, very like a Hamlet who sees the ghosts of his part parading before him… [T]he present production, in its wisdom, gives us a new view of this supposedly gallant king. But in the second half of the production, we are suddenly faced with a new Henry, a man of action, of passion, a vengeful man who forgets himself in the heat of the moment and orders actions Shakespeares Henry repudiated. But it is act these times too that the character comes to life for the first time all evening and we can respond to him. In the final scenes, this Henry proves to be a very persuasive suitor. Indeed, of all the productions of this play I have seen over the years, Neil Munros wooing scenes are by far the most delightful… The set by John Ferguson is marvelously simple, though I felt that people were kept moving it about unnecessarily, and the music by Roger Perkins is oppressive only occasionally… Munro’s Henry is a strange creation.
KeywordsStory Line Festival Director Final Scene Henry Versus Musical Hall
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