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

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

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

Carla Lane – The Liver Birds, Mersey Beat and Counter Cultural Performance Poetry

Last week's sad passing of TV sit-com writer Carla Lane aged 87 marks another nail in the coffin of what many regard as a golden era of TV comedy. It was an era rooted in overly-bright living room sets where everyday plays for today were acted out in front of a live audience in a way that happens differently today. If Lane had been starting out now, chances are that the middlebrow melancholy of Butterflies, in which over four series between 1978 and 1983, Wendy Craig's suburban housewife Ria flirted with the idea of committing adultery with successful businessman Leonard, would have been filmed without a laughter track and billed as a dramady. Lane's finest half-hour highlighted a confused, quietly desperate and utterly British response to the new freedoms afforded women over the previous decade as they trickled down the class system in the most genteel of ways. This may have been drawn from Lane's own not-quite free-spirited quest for adventure as she moved through h