Thursday, 14 June 2012

Theatrical Interlude 8 (2012)

Henry V, Globe Theatre June 2012

This was the second play that Mr Norfolkbookworm and I saw during our weekend in London.  We'd packed fearing the worst - the forecast for Sunday was dire however it was a pleasant surprise to find it warm and  almost sunny as we strolled alongside the River Thames to get to the Globe.

There has recently been a season of Shakespeare plays from the Globe shown on Sky Arts and we did mean to watch the almost prequels to this one (Henry IV pts 1 and 2) but time got away from us and we didn't manage it.  Being Shakespeare this didn't matter.

Sunday was the first day of the 2012 "The Plays the Thing" season at the Globe - for the past few weeks it has been the "Globe to Globe" season where all 37 plays by Shakespeare have been performed but with each one in a different language. I didn't see any of them but I know that if I'd lived in London I would have done - the reviews have been excellent.

Henry V was the Globe Theatre's entry to G2G and so while we saw the first performance of the summer season it wasn't the first time is had been performed.

It was wonderful from the instant the musicians appeared on the stage to the dance at the end it was a masterpiece. I've seen the film version from 1944 with  Laurence Olivier and while that was good it felt very earnest, this version was human - there were emotions and so much humour, from the Bishops on their 'throne' to the scenes with Pistol yet none of it felt over blown or out of place.  As for the famous 'once more unto the breach dear friends' scene - I was ready to draw my sword and join in.

Having been to Agincourt a couple of years ago I could really see the scene of the battle - which is wonderful as the 'Chorus' does ask you to imagine the scene as it would be too hard to realise in the theatre - and thought that the way the fight is depicted using just a few of the cast was fantastic.

I am very glad that I am seeing the other 3 plays in the London season over the next few months and very pleased that I will see this play again.  It has quickly moved to the top of my (imaginary) list of Best Plays 2012.

Agincourt archers in Agincourt, France

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