Skip to main content

Henry V

Botanic Gardens, Glasgow
Four stars

The siren's call is a call to arms of sorts in Jennifer Dick's reimagining of Shakespeare's most triumphal piece of wartime propaganda, which here sets out its store in the 1940s. Evacuees run wild in the country while the world about them attempts to bomb each other out of existence. With sandbags and a Union Jack at one end of Carys Hobbs’ set and a cinema poster for Laurence Olivier's big-screen vanity version of the play at the other, the games that unfold beyond the dressing up box are hand-me-down fantasies of nationhood.

As the gang gather to the sound of vintage wartime warmers by the likes of the Andrews' Sisters and George Formby, leader of the pack is Lynsey-Anne Moffat's Chorus. She shoves her playmates around, handing out the cardboard crowns inbetween making up the story as she goes along. Once everybody gets to grips with the grown-up stuff, the war with France can begin.

Adam Donaldson is a natural for King Henry, clad in boy-scout shirt and shorts and with a rough-hewn charisma that demands attention. Moffat and the other five people onstage roar their way through the Kibble Palace, doubling up as assorted states-people from both sides. On the flipside, Ben Noble, Claire Macallister, Alan Mirren and Natalie Lauren invest the play's comic cannon fodder with a more earnest sense of being caught in the crossfire.

It's as if the play, performed as part of this summer's Bard in the Botanics season, has been dreamt up by the real life cast of Michael Apted's seminal Up documentary series, which since 1964 has watched children grow up beyond their seven-year-old selves. Like them, as the world becomes an infinitely more serious place in Dick’s production, the reckless derring-do of infants gives way to older and more cautious characters.

Ultimately, Dick's adaptation is a play for Europe, of auld alliances that sees nations at each other's throats before embarking, like Katherine and Henry, on a bilingual romance before it all falls apart and they're childishly turning their backs on each other once more. It could never happen here.

The Herald, July 5th 2019

ends



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Edinburgh Rocks – The Capital's Music Scene in the 1950s and Early 1960s

Edinburgh has always been a vintage city. Yet, for youngsters growing up in the shadow of World War Two as well as a pervading air of tight-lipped Calvinism, they were dreich times indeed. The founding of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and the subsequent Fringe it spawned may have livened up the city for a couple of weeks in August as long as you were fans of theatre, opera and classical music, but the pubs still shut early, and on Sundays weren't open at all. But Edinburgh too has always had a flipside beyond such official channels, and, in a twitch-hipped expression of the sort of cultural duality Robert Louis Stevenson recognised in his novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a vibrant dance-hall scene grew up across the city. Audiences flocked to emporiums such as the Cavendish in Tollcross, the Eldorado in Leith, The Plaza in Morningside and, most glamorous of all due to its revolving stage, the Palais in Fountainbridge. Here the likes of Joe Loss and Ted Heath broug