The Hollow Crown

The Hollow Crown - Henry IV Part 2

Radio Times
Review by:
Patrick Mulkern

It’s always humbling to watch great Shakespeare, which to a large extent this production is. Yes, it takes a while to pick up from Part 1 and there are longueurs purporting to be comedy, but the sombre moments in Richard Eyre’s free adaptation of the text are absolutely riveting, with three magnificent central performances.

Jeremy Irons is the ailing king, beset by rebels and obsessed by death, providing weight and gloom in stark contrast to the golden aura that surrounds Harry, his errant heir, charismatically embodied by Tom Hiddleston. And Simon Russell Beale instantly gets the measure of Harry’s “ill angel”, Falstaff, the lardy bon viveur and opportunist who realises only at the final curtain that if you play the fool too often, you become one.

Scenes are intercut, speeches slashed, the settings (Gloucester Cathedral) gorgeous… The only trick Eyre can’t quite pull off is to enhance women’s roles in these History Plays: the fact they’re played by such high-calibre stars as Julie Walters, Michelle Dockery and Maxine Peake only rams this feeling home.

About this programme

As an uprising against the ailing monarch gathers momentum, the Lord Chief Justice urges Prince Hal to leave London and support his father. Meanwhile, the roguish Falstaff spots an opportunity to advance himself by recruiting troops for the royal forces. Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russell Beale star in an adaptation of Shakespeare's play about the last years of Henry IV's reign, with Alun Armstrong, Jeremy Irons, Geoffrey Palmer, Maxine Peake and Julie Walters.

Cast and crew

Cast

Henry IV
Jeremy Irons
Falstaff
Simon Russell Beale
Prince Hal
Tom Hiddleston
Mistress Quickly
Julie Walters
Northumberland
Alun Armstrong
Shallow
David Bamber
Lady Northumberland
Niamh Cusack
Poins
David Dawson
Kate Percy
Michelle Dockery
Bardolph
Tom Georgeson
Warwick
Iain Glen
Archbishop of York
Nicholas Jones
Westmoreland
James Laurenson
Lord Chief Justice
Geoffrey Palmer
Doll Tearsheet
Maxine Peake
Pistol
Paul Ritter
Hastings
Adam Kotz
Lancaster
Henry Faber
Mowbray
Pip Torrens
Silence
Tim McMullan
Gloucester
Will Attenborough
Coleville
Dominic Rowan
Gower
Pip Carter
Peto
Ian Conningham
Falstaff's page
Billy Matthews

Crew

Adapted By
Richard Eyre
Director
Richard Eyre
Producer
Rupert Ryle-Hodges
Writer
William Shakespeare
Categories
Drama

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