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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Maio Mackay

RSC Live: Henry IV Part 1 - 3 Stars

Live from Stratford the Royal Shakespeare Company present their new production of Henry IV Part 1 to cinemas worldwide!

While King Henry VI Part 1 is one of the better plays in Shakespeare’s history collection it certainly lacks in some areas. The play featured a cast of 22, but there were two actors who really stole the show.

Alex Hassel played King Hall who was the young prince that had strayed off his path. Hassel portrayed the role with a mix of cockiness, rebellion, power and submission that were needed to make this role come to life.

The other stand out actor was Antony Sher (as John Falstaff). While this character is expected to dominate his scenes, Sher not only encaptured the crucial humor of the role, but also relished in the character’s moments of self-doubt and fear.

The rest of the production was okay. This certainly wasn’t an amazing production, like the previous RSC Live show (Richard II). Some of the scenes seemed particularly tedious. It wasn’t until the more humorous side of the play commenced at about the halfway mark that the majority of the actors really came into their own. The strongest elements of this play were the comedy scenes. These scenes were directed wonderfully by Gregory Doran and played brilliantly by the whole cast!

Due to the nature of the live theatre recording the volume throughout the play noticeably varied. While you could always hear the dialogue it was sometimes distracting. This hasn’t been an issue in previous live recordings. Also at the start of the play the cinema audience was submitted to 20 minutes of repeated Royal Shakespeare Company ads (about events in London) and scenes of the theatre audience taking their seats. The people around me were clearly annoyed by the delay in the start time, however, this may be outside the control of the cinema.

It was not the best Shakespeare production that’s been put on the big screen, but this cast and crew weren’t working with one of Shakespeare’s best scripts either. I do think fans of this play and Shakespeare’s histories will enjoy it. Anyone studying Shakespeare should also definitely head over to see it as well!

In case you don’t know special events like these are often screening at Palace Nova Cinemas throughout Australia. Various RSC, National Theatre, Opera and West End productions are shown live from their stages so check out Palace Nova’s website for more details!

3 Stars

Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay

Movie screening courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas

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