Henry V brings to an end, the complete history works of Shakespeare by the RSC, and as with all things Shakespeare, it is full of life and has been interpreted by Michael Boyd with vigour. A story of war and its ruinous damage to those involved fused with humour and of course would be incomplete without the elements of treason, passion and love.
Geoffrey Streatfeild, gives an astounding performance as the young and zealous Henry V, who rallies the English forces as they take on the might of the French army, a rather ambitious decision that turns out in his favour with the minimal loss of his soldiers and they win the battle.
Boyd’s interpretation successfuly fuses the the responsibility o king feels towards his nation with his anger and disappointment at betrayal into a compelling story of war,culminating in a heightened burst of emotional energy when the restless king decides to confront the traitors within his own camp.
This final offering in the history cycle is monumental in style, the physical action on stage which includes the French dukes, a bunch of colourful characters hanging down on a trapeze and movements by Liz Ranken bring an element of entertainment to the whole production as the action unfolds. The English army don’t fail amuse us either with their humorous war antics. An unflinching moment for me was watching Captain Fluellen played by Jonathan Slinger, feed leek to Pistol for his wayward words during battle.
Electrifying performances from members of the cast, with the likes of Fluellen, Nym, Mount Joy, played Chuk Iwuji and Alexia Healy in her role as Lady Catherine, indulge us all the way. Henry V is a thrilling production to watch as it brings finality to the critically acclaimed History Cycle season for the RSC.
Photographer: Ellie Kurttz