Back to reviews
Henry V was indeed a tour de force for TADS – I was again impressed with the standard of performance, and the ease with which the Shakespearean words tripped off the actors tongues, not always easy.
The setting in the round was well-
The setting was very simple – and the scene changes were effected by cast members
simply moving a few chairs or re-
The lighting was crucial, as it created the different atmospheres for each scene, and that along with the music and sound effects were instrumental in giving us the contrasts and dimensions needed to keep our interest, as there is no doubt it is a very wordy piece, that could have dragged, but everything was played at a good pace.
I liked the opening sequence – linking the WW2 family and their son joining up, with
Henry V and the character simply entitled The Boy -
I thought the whole cast gave good performances, some more notable than others, but
Lea Pryer took on three different roles, all of which were accomplished well, showing what a versatile actress she is. The emotion of seeing her man go off to war as Hostess Quickly, was very poignant, then the transformation into Princess Catherine, and her superb handling of the French words. The scene between Catherine and Alice her maid, was very well done and most amusing, a little light relief amongst the seriousness of the play.
Alistair Brown gave us a regal King of France, showing confusion over what was happening, but strength in his responses. Alistair always gives his characters depth.
Ian Cossey was kept busy, with a number of parts, all of which were played with understanding, but I particularly liked his Edward Cavendish in the opening sequence.
Helen Huson was another cast member with several diverse roles, her Archbishop of Canterbury was my favourite, as the reaction of the other cast members to her monologue in Act 1 Scene 2 – was amusing and interesting. She brought something different to each role and has a presence that lends itself well to Shakespeare.
Chris Battams and Joe Hawkins are two young men who brought much to their roles, and I liked their take on their portrayals.
Luke Firth in his first production with TADS worked well with his roles.
Luke Howard as the Duke of Bourbon gave us good characterisation, and Steven Pryer showed many and different facets to Pistol – both showing understanding of their roles.
I liked the relationship and interaction between Pistol, Nym (Ian Cossey) and Bates
(Andrew Naish) – it created a common touch to compare with the high-
Sophie Venn was an arresting French Ambassador, and an accomplished Duke of Orleans.
I liked David Sachon’s portrayal of The Duke of Exeter – he was forceful when needed, and also gave the part a contrasting more understanding side.
Maureen Linney and Malcolm Steven as Westmoreland and Erpingham respectively, both kept their personas going the whole time, and added some weight and depth to the proceedings.
Janet Bray gave two contrasting performances, as Fluellen the Welsh soldier, and Alice the maid, both with very good accents – nicely done on both counts.
The show was well-
Henry’s ‘Once more into the breech’ speech was particularly moving and inspiring.
The background sound to Act V Scene 1 & 2 was very good, and faded well, and I loved the finale, and also the closing sequence which showed Edward Cavendish lighting a candle and leaving his book on the rostra lit by a single spot – very evocative and a fitting end to an excellent evening’s entertainment.
A super production, which although long, was enthralling and well-
“HENRY V” TADS Theatre, Toddington
review date 20th June 2014
Director: Sue Sachon