After thoroughly enjoying the all-female Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse, I was pleased to discover that the theme would be continued with an all-female Henry IV. Shakespeare’s two plays were condensed into one in a way I thought was very effective.
The prison setting returned and was used to great effect, but to be honest I would have liked even more of the asides the “prisoners” delivered to the audience outside of Shakespeare’s speeches. The cast was excellent too, with Harriet Walter returning as King Henry and Clare Dunne starring as Prince Hal. Ashley McGuire made a superb Falstaff, Cockney arrogance descending into fear both in-character and out as she is dragged off by the prison guards at the end. The production offered fresh insights into Shakespeare’s play and it was a gloriously fresh and energetic performance.