RSC 1 Henry IV… on the big screen

Caught the Royal Shakespeare Company’s special event broadcast to movie theaters of their current production of Henry the Fourth, Part One. (it was actually an “encore” presentation).

It was intro’ed with the interviews and there was another during intermission.

You can almost FEEL the “but” coming…

Technically, the broadcast was seamless and well-done.

But it was… good. Good. Not great. Antony Sher, widely regarded as one of the best stage Shakespearean actors on the planet (his Richard III back in ’84 is one for the ages, it’s said), was a great Falstaff. But the other characters…  just didn’t grab me.

Alex Hassell’s Hal was serviceable, but nothing special. Maybe it’s part of a larger arc for the character/portrayal leading up to Henry V. But if so, it just didn’t work for me.

And I don’t even want to get into Trevor White’s Hotspur. No, wait a minute, I do. I kinda hated the portrayal. I don’t know if it was the actor’s choice or the director Gregory Doran’s, but here Hotspur is less HOTspur than BORDERING-ON-NUTSspur.

The whole production was reverent, almost to a fault. Damn near close to “museum-y”… don’t know if it’s a word or not, but I’m going with it.

All that being said, I would recommend the experience. Any chance to catch Shakespeare on the big screen is pretty good. I know the Second Part is coming later this month, and The Two Gents and Love’s Labor’s Lost are coming later this year/early next.