on 31 December 2009
The final play in Shakespeare's so-called first tetralogy, this is Shakespeare's 'action movie' play in many ways, and is better suited to a stage or film than an audio production. King Henry V is here played by the same actor (Jamie Glover) who played Hal in Arkangel's Henry IV (see my reviews of those), and now as king he alters his voice appropriately. He doesn't deliver the fiery war speeches with appropriate intensity ("Will you yield, and this avoid?" etc.), but is great in the scene where he walks unknown among the troops on the night before the battle.
The comic interludes are a bit flat compared to the Henry IV plays (Falstaff's presence is sorely missed), but the scene where Princess Katherine tries to learn English and finds it obscene is very funny. And despite my own distrust of the nation state, it's impossible not to be moved by the feeling of the English being underdogs, as vividly evoked by the Chorus (Brian Cox). When this was set, the nation state was still in its infancy though - and not in its dotage as currently.