OCTOBER 2, 2013

Continuing my Shakespeare Festival, I watched THE HOLLOW CROWN: HENRY IV – Part 1. Certainly on par with RICHARD II, this is a marvelous adaptation; my only complaint was that unlike the first installment of the series, I did find this a little more challenging to follow. But that in no way diminished my enjoyment of the experience because anything I was confused about I worked out by the end of the production.
HENRY IV – Part 1 focuses on a now much older Henry IV who has been beaten down by life and is not in the greatest of health. He’s not only dealing with an uprising in his Kingdom, but his eldest son and heir Prince Hal is far more concerned with partying with his portly older friend Falstaff and cavorting with whores at the local pub then deal with affairs of state. This has sullied their name and the King wonders if his son will ever get his act together.
All the performances are top-notch with a cast that includes Jeremy Irons as King Henry IV, Tom Hiddleston (Loki from THOR and THE AVENGERS) as Prince Hal and a simply exceptional Simon Russell Beale as the bumbling yet compassionate Falstaff. I’ve read that his portrayal of Falstaff is considered one of the finest and most complex ever on stage or screen.

Directed by Richard Eyre (NOTES ON A SCANDAL) it’s a lavish production and deserving of your time. I can’t recommend THE HOLLOW CROWN enough. Look forward to the reviews of the final two installments in the weeks to come.