Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dvd/150: THE HOLLOW CROWN: HENRY IV PARTS 1 & 2 (Richard Eyre, 2012)

The second in the BBC trilogy of Shakespeare History plays are the two parts of HENRY IV, adapted and directed by Richard Eyre with a clarity that makes them gripping viewing.

Henry IV faces an uprising led by Lord Northumberland who had helped him overthrow Richard II.  Henry is envious that Northumberland's fiery son Hotspur would make a better heir to his throne than his son Hal who spends his nights roistering with the lowlifes in Eastcheap and in particular with the drunken rogue Lord John Falstaff.

Hal's killing of Hotspur at the Battle of Shrewsbury changes the King's opinion but which father figure will Hal finally acknowledge?

Fine support from Joe Armstrong as Hotspur and Julie Walters as Mistress Quickly underpin superb performances from Jeremy Irons as Henry and Tom Hiddleston as Hal.

But above all is Simon Russell Beale's quintessential Falstaff: vain, angry, lyrical, sly and finally heartbreaking.

Shelf or charity shop?  Enthroned on the shelf!

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