Henry IV Part 2: Shakespeare's Globe Theatre 2-DVD Set
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From the end of part one of this history play by William Shakespeare (1564 to 1616):
(1) The charismatic Hotspur (a leading rebel against the King) is dead
(2) Prince Hal (the King's son) has proven his ability on the battlefield.
Beginning of part two of this play:
(1) King Henry IV lies dying.
(2) The rebels attack against the King's forces show no signs of surrendering.
(3) Falstaff is to raise a militia.
This Globe Theatre production of "Henry IV Part 2" (written circa 1598) brings the last part of this play (and the most interesting part, in my opinion) to life. It does so with some unforgettable acting (aided by good scenery, costumes, and music).
The title "Henry IV" is somewhat misleading. (You'll realize this when you watch this production.) King Henry is rarely on stage, and at times seems to exist solely as a peg upon which to hang the more interesting tale of Prince Hal and Sir John Falstaff.
Yes, the play generally is about Henry's struggle to maintain the throne. But the play itself centers on Prince Hal and his development from jokester into king. Two plots, one comic and one serious, are represented, respectively, by Falstaff & the Boar's Head Tavern gang and by King Henry & his court. Hal is sort of like a hinge upon which the two swing back and fourth.
Thus, there are two "musts" when bringing this play to the stage:
(1) You must have a good Falstaff. I was "hugely" impressed with actor Roger Allam's performance as that "huge hill of flesh" called Falstaff. He gives an admirable performance to what can be a difficult character to portray at times.
(2) You must have a good Prince Hal.Read more ›
In the early 1960s the BBC produced the Shakespear chronocles as a 15 episode one hour television series entitled An Age of Kings. This edited and shortened version of the plays is most engaging and entertaining with a unified cast. If one is tired of contemporary television fare, this series is why the televsion of that era were called "The Golden Age."
About 25 years of so later, the BBC produced a series of the complete cannon of Sharkespear which included unified cast versions of the entire Histories. Again, for great acting of an ensamble production with a single director (if I recall correctly) and for those with the time and patience or love of the Bard, the series is highly recommended.
So, then, why go for the newer film of the stage production of the Henry IV plays produced by the Globe Theatre in London.?
The reason is for the Fallstaff of Roger Adams. Adams memorable protrayal brings one of Shakepear's most famous persons to three dimensional life, giving him a subtlety and dimension, oft missed in the "fat John foil to Prince Hal", approach oft seen. To view Adam in the role, is to see Fallstaff anew.
For a evening or two sitting with the residents of "lady" Tiersheets tavern, this version is more than worth the hours.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Acting on the whole unimpressed, Falstaff adequate, Hal horrible, the rest of the actors amateurish. Worse even than part 1Published 8 months ago by Laurence H. Anderson
Falstaff gets dumped by Hal. Alam is the perfect person to play Falstaff.Published 8 months ago by Stevenhend
All I have to say. Falstaff is always open for contemplation. He is one of Shakespeare's most intelligent characters for sure.Published 23 months ago by Jeff Price
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