Henry V by William Shakespeare

 

 

 

Shakespeare's masterpiece of war and conflict tells the story of King Henry's invasion of France with his rag-tag 'band of brothers'.  Joined by a host of vivid and memorable characters - from courtiers to commoners - the charismatic king is forced to make terrible choices as he grapples with the horrors of war.  Triumph at the Battle of Agincourt secures victory for England, but at what cost to Henry, the great warrior king?

Directed by Paul Kirkbright

 

 CAST

 

      Chorus (BBC)                  Charlotte Cumming

      Chorus (Fox)                   William O'Neill

      King Henry V                   Adam Stubbs

      Exeter                            Simon Garland

      Salisbury                        David Bolitho

      Westmorland                  Adrian Davies

      Erpingham                      John Lees

      Ely                                 Martin Riley

      Canterbury                      Pauline Garland

      Gloucester                      James Highton

      York                               Mark Jones (Camera One)

      Warwick                          David Garry

      Fluellen                           Martin Riley

      Gower                            George Jones

      MacMorris                       Richard Dodd

      Jamy                              Gordon Wallis

      Bates                              Andrew Culshaw

      Williams                          Richard Dodd

      Pistol                              Mike Sanders

      Nym                               Andrew Culshaw

      Bardolph                         Carl Howard

      Quickly                           Bethany D'Avincourt

      Boy                                Kristopher Duffin

      Charles, King of France     Stuart Rathe

      The Dauphin                   Dan Short

      The Constable                 Ian Maddock

      Montjoy                          James Dorman

      Burgundy                        Pauline Garland

      Orleans                           Mike Bell

      Bourbon                          Bethany D'Avincourt

      Rambures                       Tom Toaduff Clarke (Camera Two)

      Grandpre                        Gordon Wallis

Review from our NODA (National Operatic and Drama Association) representative.

 

I have long been an advocate of Paul Kirkbrights directorial skills and his collaboration with co-directors Stuart Rathe and Martin Riley and Assistant Ruth Stenhouse has done nothing to diminish that advocacy.  Neston Players are never shy of doing something different and this venture in to Shakespeare clearly shows their desire to be innovative and give their audience a window into the many various aspects of  what theatre offers.  Few groups offer this versatility of performance and Neston should be congratulated not only for doing this but doing it so well.

 

Shakespeare ‘s basis for the majority of his historical, plays is Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland,  a collaborative work published in several volumes and two editions, the first in 1577, and the second in 1587.  It was a large, comprehensive description of the British history.  The Bard is  "widely believed" to have used the revised second edition of the Chronicles (published in 1587 for his source material: Written around 1599, the story of King Henry V of England, focused on events immediately before and after the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years' War.

 

The production as a whole was very well carried out starting with a simple but effective set.  Modern dress gave the production team some scope for inventiveness with Grenade launchers, submachine guns etc replacing the swords spears and arrows of Henry V’s day.  In keeping with this were the modern army issue and red berets of the British and the rather stranger white unifoms of the French.  I could see where this latter idea came from but I’m not sure that it hit quite the right note. The costuming of the clergy, herald and chorus were equally fine.  The ideas of the battle sequences was clever and almost noisy enough to have been real.  The lighting was good although the strobe lighting whilst effective in portraying scenes of warfare can be a little offputting for some members of the audience.  Scene changes are always part and parcel of Neston’s productions and invariably carried out without fuss or tedium.

 

Neston are seemingly always blessed with a wealth of fine actors and once again they turned up in force.  I am always impressed when watching Shakespeare by the players ability to remember the very many lines that Shakespeare produced although “In the round” some dialogue can easily be slightly garbled or lost in the welter of action.  Having said that it moved apace which says much for the players.  Add to this excellent facial expressions,  involvement with, the unfolding plot and reaction to the changing situation.  There were no poor performances amongst this band of brother actors.  Here we had an extremely well-acted piece with some great direction.  Neston rose as usual to a challenging choice of play. Well done to the whole team. 

 

Budge

 

 

Reviews on AMA (About My Area) can be read here.

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