Henry V is brought to life once more by the Globe’s artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole, in an adaptation that is every bit as exhilarating as the text itself. Written in 1599, Henry V is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. Full of unforgettable characters, noble speeches, heroic battles, and of course victory against the French by the English underdogs. The powerful themes running throughout made it the perfect choice for collaboration between the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, and the iconic Globe theatre.
Jamie Parker steps into the title role in a confident manner, bringing passion and conviction to a difficult character. As a King he is torn between what he considers a merciful belief system, and his acts of war, which ultimately lead to the slaughter of thousands. Parker is extremely adept at delivering impassioned speeches. His St. Crispin's Day Speech in particular is full of force and determination, attributes which make him captivating to watch. Yet it is his moments of humour and school boyish wooing of Princess Katherine (Olivia Ross) that ultimately charms the audience. Here is an actor who is perfectly cast for the role, a complete triumph.
Joining Parker on stage are a whole host of characters who enrich the performance. Nym, Bardolph and Pistol (David Hargreaves, Paul Rider and Sam Cox) provide plenty of laughs with their charming and often cringe worthy antics. There are moments when they have the audience roaring with surprised laughter. Brendan O’Hea’s portrayal of the Welshman, Captain Fluellen also brings some much needed humour to the smoke and blood stained fields of Agincourt. His time on stage is a joy to behold, and is still playing on my mind today.
A special mention has to go to Brid Brennan in her role of chorus. It is her words that seamlessly bring the acts together, transporting us effortlessly from England to France, and back home again. To those who fear that Shakespeare performances are inaccessible and drawn out, I urge you to book a tickets and give Dromgoole’s Henry V a chance. You won’t be disappointed! Try and take your seats early in order to hear the band play pre-show. Their exquisite performance really sets the mood of the entire night.