Presented by Independent Theatre
Reviewed 4 Aug 2017
This adaptation by Rob Croser has been performed before, 16 years ago, and I am not aware if the script is still the same, but it needs some revisions to make it understandable to those audience members who are not history buffs or on more than a nodding acquaintance with Shakespeare’s history plays. A part of me is in admiration of Croser for putting so many pieces of these plays together into a whole, and another part of me wants to ask why.
There were without doubt some magnificent performances in this production. Will Cox as Harry showed us the boy growing into a man, his drinking and whoring, his tests in battle and his acceptance of his destiny. David Roach was magnificent as Falstaff, playing him to the hilt. As Harry’s father Henry IV, Nick Buckland showed us the dilemmas of a father and the guilt of past actions. Brodie Watson-Victory was Richard II as Shakespeare imagined him, entitled but weak, ruling by divine right but unpopular.
Tim Taylor gave us a fine comedic performance as Justice Robert Swallow, aided and abetted by many of the other performers who caught the eye: Jonathon Johnston stood out as Harry Percy, the threat to Harry and James McCluskey-Garcia gave a strong performance as his father, the Earl of Northumberland. Malcolm Walton, Matthew Hein and David Green also gave good performances in many varied roles. As Mistress Quickly, Bronwyn Ruciak was as common as she should be, matched by Madeline Herd as Doll Tearsheet.
The set worked well with minimal changes made by the cast. The lighting, designed by David Green, provided enough shadows and light when needed, it complemented the set well. I found the inclusion of some modern clothing and articles such as mobile phones off-putting; my companion was having enough trouble following the action without those distractions. The constant reappearance of Richard II is enough to cope with if you are not familiar with the plays.
This is another high standard Independent production, but it is not easily accessible and most would consider it too long.
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Venue: Space Theatre, Festival Centre
Season: Until 12 August 2017
Duration: 3hr 40min
Tickets: Adult $45.85 Conc $40.45 Student $28.85
Bookings: www.independenttheatre.org.au or BASS 131 246