The Hollow Crown

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S1-E3 The Hollow Crown - Henry IV Part 2

S1-E3 The Hollow Crown - Henry IV Part 2

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Review

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.

Summary

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 & Crew

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