Henry IV: William Shakespeare
41 Earlham Street,
London WC2H 9LX
7.30pm, Mon-Sat; mats: Thurs & Sat, 2.30pm
2hrs without interval; till 29 11 14
Captioned perf: Mon, Nov 17, 7.30pm
Audio described perf: Sat, Nov 22, 2.30pm, touch tour 1.30pm
Tickets: 0844 871 7624 (Booking fee of £2.50 per transaction)
Opening hours: Personal callers: Mon – Sat: 10am – curtain up
Telephone: Mon-Sat 9am-10pm, Sun 10am-8pm
Day seats from 10.30am, in person from box office. Max 2 tickets per person.
Standing £7.50 on day if perf sold out
Standby £12 available 30 mins before perf
Barclays Front Row: tickets released 10am Mondays
Review by Carole Woddis of performance seen Oct 11, 2014:
Outstanding; most enjoyable.
Phyllida Lloyd’s second run at an all female Shakespeare succeeds even more enjoyably than did her explosive opener, Julius Caesar. This is a Shakespearean production to treasure on all counts. Like Julius Caesar, once again it is set within a group of women prisoners performing the play inside prison.
If first time around, the prison framework threw up fresh textual insights, this one works even more forcibly in a shortened two hour version of Henry IV parts 1 & 2 – a condensing that dates as far back as 1622 (by a certain Sir Edward Dering) but has only occasionally been attempted in the 20th century, notably by Orson Welles in a five hour version and the RSC’s John Barton in 1969. John Caird also produced a one slice Henry IV for BBC television.
Lloyd’s programme gives no hint as to this production’s editorial author. One can only assume Lloyd herself had a hand in it. The production does include a long note about Clean Break, the theatre company who have done so much through drama to throw the spotlight on women in prison.
This Henry IV, even more than Julius Caesar has the click of prison authenticity about it at every turn. The company never let you forget where the play is being staged and how it relates, coincidentally, to their own lives.
Even more than last time, you get the sense of a profound company spirit and of parallel contexts running alongside each other – of political leadership and misrule on the one hand and of prisoners’ competing loyalties against a background of drugs and violence on the other.
Individually, you will be hard put to find a more engaging, devious or dangerous Falstaff than Ashley McGuire’s. Or a more hotheaded Hotspur than Jade Anouka’s, bristling with (street) attitude – and a pair of flying fists.
Lloyd’s production is full of verve, originality and humour. Harriet Walter’s impressive Henry IV, disintegrating before our eyes, is the backbone to several professional debuts, notably Sharon Rooney’s as Lady Percy. Moving, genuine, uncluttered, she stands as a testament to the whole production’s presiding principle of joyful but serious shattering of moulds. Fantastic.
Hotspur: Jade Anouka
Northumberland/Peto: Elizabeth Chan
Westmoreland/Glendower: Jackie Clune
Mortimer: Shiloh Coke
Vernon/Bardolph: Karen Dunbar
Hal: Clare Dunne
Poins/The Earl of Douglas: Cynthia Erivo
Hostess/Doctor: Zainab Hasan
Sir Walter Blunt: Jennifer Joseph
Falstaff: Ashley McGuire
Worcester: Ann Ogbomo
Hotspur’s Messenger: Katie Robinson
Lady Percy/Gadshill: Sharon Rooney
King Henry: Harriet Walter
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Designer: Ellen Nabarro
Costume Designer: Deborah Andrews
Original Designs: Bunny Christie
Lighting Designer: Neil Austin
Sound Designer: Tom Gibbons
Music: Gary Yershon
Movement Director: Ann Yee
Fight Director: Kate Waters
Video Designer: Duncan McLean
Casting: Vicky Richardson
Assistant Director: Stef O’Driscoll
Voice Coach: Barbara Houseman
First perf of this production of Henry IV at Donmar Warehouse Theatre, London, Oct 3, 2014