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Henry V at National Theatre London
Reviews

From: Rashid
Category: Theatre
Date: 17 May 2003

Review

Only I end up in the 25 seats during the cheap season where most of the tickets sell for a tenner. On the plus side they have upped the pace and clarified the language in this modernized version of the agincourt saga. Downside somewhere the magic has been lost. At times I felt like I was watching the best school play in the world. The actors speak the lines clearly and with some feeling, and the props aren't bad (armoured cars, jeeps, and tv screens) but the combined effect of simplified shakespeare and the video screens, machine gun effeects, and guitar music, is to make one yearn for a bit of boring shakespeare not trying so hard. Its all artifice and no art, to update shakespeare you need a lot more talent than lytner has. Interesting fact: in the very middle-class audience there were fewer black people than on stage. We English can believe in a black Harry V, but our noble theatre still attracts few black harrys, let alone young henrys, or poor harolds. This radical Henry V will only be seen by those indifferent to anything besides interest rate rises and school fees.

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