Thrill of a lifetime

For one of the greatrest theatrical thrills of a lifetime, see the Royal Shakespeare's Henry V. For two of the greatest thrills, see it twice.

It is magnificent. It blazes across the Opera House stage with a newly minted glory so inspiring it makes you want to jump for joy and want to shout about it from the house tops.

Terry Hands production with this same cast has already been acclaimed in Stratford, London, New York, Paris, Berlin and other European capitals. And no wonder.

He has discovered a depth of humanity, comedy and tragi-comedy that make this totally unlike the usual chauvinistic tub-thump.

Alan Howard as Henry is the key to this resonance. He is a private man forced to assume a public mask. Amazingly here is a military leader who is shy, throughout showing the terrific private cost of his public acts and utterances.


And when the mask is thrown away altogether in the wooing of the French Princess Katharine (a deliciously touching and heart-warming performance by Carolle Rousseau) the man seems all the more real.

The rest of the cast are faultless, marshalled and inspired with a perception and skill that no other theatre in the world could rival.

Visually, with its fabulous unfolding canopies, its flowering into costume from rehearsal dress, and its stark, tower-fringed raked stage, it is stunning, spine-tingling.

Manchester greeted it all with an ovation never more deserved.

Henry V

Manchester Evening News, 21.7.1976.

Playing Shakespeare/Henry V