Saturday, July 26, 2014

Theatre: Henry V

By William Shakespeare
Bell Shakespeare
Director Damien Ryan
Designer Anna Gardiner
Lighting designer Sian James-Holland
Composer and sound designer Steve Francis
Featuring Michael Sheasby, Matthew Backer, Drew Livingston, Damien Strouthos, Gabriel Fancourt, Eloise Winestock, Danielle King, Darcy Brown, Keith Agius and Ildiko Susany
Heath Ledger Theatre
until August 26, then at regional centres.
Keith Agius and cast (pic: Michele Mossop)
William Shakespeare wouldn’t be shocked by the horror in Ukraine and Gaza. He had seen into the hearts and minds of those who fire the rockets, those who give the orders, those who fall and those who loot, before, and understood their contents exactly.
His Henry V can easily be seen as a glorious procession and a strident hymn of patriotism, the soul of the idol washed clean with noble blood, but there’s little sanguinity, and much darkness, behind its flash and colour.
The director Damien Ryan works impressively to strip Henry’s glamour away. Setting the play in the temporary schoolroom of a bomb shelter during the London blitz, being performed by students, is a brilliant conceit, bringing its themes of patriotism, idolatry, propaganda and terror into sharp focus.

It’s only been a couple of years since I said Propeller’s testosterone-driven Henry V was the best I was ever likely to see. That’s remains true, but there won’t be many better, or more interesting, than this one.       

Link here to the complete review in the West Australian

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