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HENRY IV at RSC

June 22, 2014

I am very sorry to say but I think we could be in for 5 years of very earnest but very boring productions of the Shakespeare History plays. Gregory Doran’s Henry IV part 1 had all the elements of an epic RSC production. There were moments of brilliance but there were also gaping gaps of tedium. Anthony Sher’s Falstaff was particularly painful for me as he laboured every word in every line. The infinitely superior Peter Hall revival of his 1964 production, that I saw a couple of years ago in Bath, with Desmond Barrit’s masterful and engaging Falstaff really leaves this RSC production in the shade.

In some consolation there were some amazing performances especially Alex Hassell and Trevor White who give some life to this production in the conflict between Prince Hal and Hotspur. However this is not enough to entice me to sit through another three hours of Henry IV part 2 next week – I have returned my ticket to the RSC box office for resale.

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