Henry IV: Part 1
Posted by Storm on Mon, 23 Aug 2010.
Henry IV Part 1, (Ok I am now faced with the task of explaining the plot, something it takes Wikipedia 2 pages to do, in a few words) Henry IV’s son Prince Hal is off the rails he drinks, he is irresponsible and he’s the heir to the throne, perfect. But when the country is threatened by civil war Prince Hal must learn to be a true royal. (How was that?)
Jamie Parker is the History Boy no one remembers after today I’m wondering why.
He put in an amazing performance as Prince Hal in the Globe’s performance of Henry IV, he is a master of comedy. He had energy and a certain spark which highlighted that the rest of the cast were lacking... something. It’s a good job Parker was so good as when ever Oliver Cotton playing Henry IV came on the stage he droned on so much that I found myself staring at a man in the crowd wearing a rather fetching pink suit and straw hat instead of listening (although this may have something to do with my inability to stay focused but I doubt it.) Fortunately although the he held the title role he actually spent very little time on stage, it would have been better if the play was named Prince Hal or possibly Falstaff played by Roger Allam whose performance played beautifully against Prince Hal although he stole the show whenever left alone or given a monologue. Both Falstaff and Hal were hugely entertaining and I longed for their scenes together to come quicker after sitting through yet another irritating scene between Hotspur and his wife. Hotspur’s wife, Lorna Stuart, was again the most irritating of actresses, I found her strained and shouty. She was only on for a very short time but it was longer enough for me to dislike her portrayal of the character, (although she was still better than Henry IV.)
This was a great play; it was funny and didn’t take itself too seriously. I went to see it with my parents and even though it does start with Hal emerging from a trap door with his trousers round is ankles (if you’re getting where I’m going with this) it never made me cringe to much at the fact I was watching this with my parents. Always a plus in my book. I would go see this again in a second, it was the kind of play that even second time round would still make you laugh (probably J).
Henry IV Part 1 lacks nothing (except possibly a recasting for some of the roles), fast paced, action packed and hilarious, really you can’t go wrong with it.
(I managed to get a better seat this visit so I had a clear view of the stage which definitely helped; I also invested in a seat cushion which made the performance a lot more enjoyable and a lot less painful than the last time I visited. The advice still stands, always hire a seat cushion!!!)