Henry V – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

A stark stage, in the round, without benefit of scenery, save for a floor map of the world, is the only introduction to the Hartford Stage’s dramatic production of Shakespeare’s intense history play “Henry V” until Sunday, November 11.

Upon the shoulders of a king, leadership and responsibility to his people lie heavily Can a good ruler be moral and put the fate of his subjects before his own needs and status? King Henry V, embodied in all his feelings and his flaws by Stephen Louis Grush, struggles with choices that will define his position of power.

King Henry V of England has the ability to be a hero but in achieving his goals his conduct is less than noble. With determination and diligence, he sets his crown on defeating the French for he truly believes the throne of France belongs to him.

The audience is encouraged to imagine the multitude of war scenes and get into Henry’s head, much as they would have in Shakespeare’s time. We must anticipate his conflicts and his need to prove he is a genuine king, one quite different from the impetuous youth who partied all too well. He must convince himself and his people that God will reward him for his military deeds.

Winning the Battle of Agincourt is a decisive act on Henry’s part, ensuring him as one of the most successful and famous rulers in English history. His Crispin’s Day speech calls on the English to rise to glory and commit to the task of victory.
A stellar cast includes Peter Francis James as the Chorus and Sir Thomas Erpingham, Felicity Jones Latta as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Nym and Alice, Miles Anderson as Bishop of Ely and Pistol, Karen Aldridge as Exeter, Evelyn Spahr as Lord Scroop and Katherine, Kate Forbes as the Constable of France and Burgundy and Governor of Harfleur and Baron Vaughn as Captain Gower, Mistress Quickly and Fluellen.

Thanks to director Elizabeth Williamson we feel we are planning the strategies, in the counsel room and on the battlefields.

For tickets ($25 and up), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at www.hartfordstage.org. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m Saturday and Sunday.

Go to war with Henry V as he calculatingly plots to add France to his empire.

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