Henry VI pts, 1, 2, and 3 at the Roundhouse

If you live anywhere near London (or even if you don’t) and have any interest in Shakespeare, theatre, or medieval history, then you need to go and see the RSC’s fabulous current production of Henry VI. This is the first time that I have seen the play staged and they’ve really done a fantastic job. The thing that really blew me away was the treatment of Cade’s rebellion in pt. 2. The director really got the carnivalesque nature of early modern rebellion across, as well as keeping with Shakespeare’s rather ambiguous attitude towards the rebels in the play. I’m not sure how much ‘expert’ input into the production there was, though I noted that Andrew Hadfield contributed to the programme notes. (In fact, I have just been reading Hadfield’s very interesting article on republican influences in Henry VI – ‘The Political Significance of the First Tetralogy’ in J. F. McDiarmid ed The Monarchical Republic of Early Modern England (Ashgate, 2007), ch. 8).

Also, the play gave me a chance to do a bit of academic-spotting. I spied Brian Cummings and Warren Cherniak. I also thought I saw Andrew Gilligan, but realised it was just another bald, pudgy man in a suit. I better stop there before this blog turns into the 3am Girls.


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