2 November 2015

The Hollow Crown - Henry IV Part One

The Hollow Crown – Henry IV Part One 2012
  • Director: Richard Eyre
  • Based on play by William Shakespeare
  • Cast: Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston, Simon Russel Beale, Joe Armstrong, Julie Walters, Michelle Dockery, David Dawson, Maxine Peake, Robert Pugh, David Hayman, Harry Lloyd
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in
    • Jeremy Irons – Beautiful Creatures, The Kingdom of Heaven, Being Julia, The Merchant of Venice, Longitude, The House of the Spirits, Waterland, Kafka, Reversal of Fortune, The French Lieutenant’s Woman
    • Tom Hiddleston – The Deep Blue Sea, Thor, Wallander, Cranford
    • Simon Russel Beale – This England, My Week with Marilyn, The Deep Blue Sea, Hamlet, Orlando
    • Joe Armstrong – Land Girls, Rose and Maloney
    • Julie Walters – Harry Potter 1-8, Mamma Mia, Becoming Jane, Driving Lessons, Wah-Wah, Calendar Girls, Billy Elliot, Titanic Row, Intimate Relations, Prick Up Your Ears, Educating Rita
    • Michelle Dockery – Downton Abbey, Hannah
    • David Dawson – Dancing on the Edge, Gracie
    • Maxine Peake – The Theory of Everything
    • Robert Pugh – Robin Hood, The Ghost Writer, Kinky Boots, Hustle
    • David Hayman – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, My Name is Joe, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Rob Roy, Sid and Nancy
    • Harry Lloyd – Wolf Hall, The Theory of Everything, Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, David Copperfield
  • Why? Shakespeare
  • Seen: 31 October 2015 

With Jeremy Irons as Henry IV, and after the spectacular Richard II, I’ve been looking forward to seeing this. Mistakenly believing that The Hollow Crown had combined Parts One and Two we were waiting to watch it until we had read both.
No matter. We’re watching this one now.
It’s quite a complex story. Prince Hal hangs out with the low classes in taverns and bawdy houses, to his father’s distress. Hotspur and other rebels prepare for war against the king. Sir John Falstaff, fat old Sir John Falstaff, respects no one but loves Prince Hal in his way, while the Prince treats him with amused contempt.
Jeremy Irons lives up to expectations.  Joe Armstrong as Hotspur and Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal exceed them. Julie Walters is the best Mistress Quickly I’ve seen. Falstaff is a character I’ve never been able to love as much as other Shakespeareans do and Simon Russel Beale’s blustery interpretation doesn’t do much for me. His honour monolog, which being one of Shakespeare’s best, should be the strongest moment in the play but unfortunately it is lost in a speak over, with little expression.
But it’s virtually gritty with stark monochromatic dirt, sweat, rags and mud, from tavern to castle to battlefield.

4 * of 5 

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