Henry IV Part 1 - Open Air Theatre 2004
Opened 7 June 2004
Written: by William Shakespeare
Directed: Alan Strachan
Cast: Christopher Benjamin (Falstaff), Christopher Godwin (King Henry), Jordan Frieda (Prince Hal), Mark Hilton (Poins), Keith Dunphy (Hotspur), Annette McLaughlin (Lady Percy), Ben Hicks (Mortimer), Sophie Bould (Lady Mortimer), Gareth Jones (Glendower), Ellen O Grady (Mistress Quickly), Oliver Hume (Douglas), Simon Clark (Vernon), Leo Conville (Francis), Richard Reynard (Lancaster / Peto), Nick Bonner (Westmoreland), Nicholas Pound (Blount), Terence Wilton (Worcester), Graham James (Northumberland), Raymond Bowers (Bardolph)
Synopsis: Young Prince Hal is leading a dissolute life, hanging around bars with his notorious friend Falstaff and other disreputable characters. Meanwhile King Henry IV, who has usurped the throne, is facing growing opposition, which becomes open rebellion led by the courageous young Hotspur. Prince Hal casts off his wanton ways and joins his father’s side as the King meets the rebellion in a dramatic battle.
What the critics had to say.....
NICK CURTIS for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Has a fine Falstaff, but a stilted anti-hero Prince" LYN GARDNER for THE GUARDIAN says, "Enjoyable evening." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "Massive, majestic, hilarious yet touching Lord of Misrule." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Alan Strachan's production presents an essentially benign and even sentimental view of the play...This Henry IV is a summer treat." PAUL TAYLOR for THE INDEPENDENT says, "Lucid account..." ALASTAIR MACAULAY for THE FINANCIAL TIMES says,"If he [Christopher Benjamin ]is not quite the greatest Falstaff I’ve seen, he’s the most natural.....Of all the history plays, none could work better in open air: the Merry England on stage belongs so well against this treescape, amid this birdsong." PETER HEPPLE for THE STAGE says, "Falstaff's...cynical personality and debauched philosophy comes across strongly in both Alan Strachan's direction and Christopher Benjamin's portrayal.."