Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Henry V (Man and Monarch)

Award winning Australian actor, Brett Brown, plays Shakespeare’s hero King in a bold one-man adaption of the classic play.

Presented by Brett Brown and Parrabbola
Reviewed 18 February 2017

Although I love Shakespeare, I am not familiar with the Henry plays, so apart from the oft-quoted major speeches I know little of the stories. I’m not sure this play did much to help that.

The publicity tells us that the setting is unknown: is he Henry in torment or is he a madman who thinks he is Henry V?

There is no doubt that Brett Brown can deliver Shakespeare’s lines and he gives a strong performance, but the underlying reason escapes me.

A lot of thought and planning has gone into this production, and as the publicity says it is a play about leaders and leadership, and for this purpose Henry V is a brilliant subject to choose, and the Agincourt and St Crispin speeches are where the Bard found words to stir the hearts of nations.

My problem is with the opening which did not inspire or involve me in any way.

I enjoyed the exposure to some excellent text well delivered but I think I missed the point that Brown and his fellow developer Phillip Parr were trying to make.

The hour long piece did deliver the changes and growth that Henry went through and Brown gave justice to the words he delivered capturing the king’s humanity and his frailties as well as his strength.

Worth a visit for the delivery of the Agincourt speech alone.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Rating out of 5: 3

Venue:  Holden Street (The Arch)
Season:  18 Feb – 5 Mar
Duration:  60 mins
Tickets:  $10 – $26


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