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Michael Grandage’s starry season comes to an end with his straightforward, lucid and simply staged production of Shakespeare’s history play, with Jude Law in the title role proving once again that he can be as magnetic on stage as on screen.

No longer the debauched prince Shakespeare portrayed in Henry IV parts I & II, the newly-crowned monarch has changed into a thoughtful king, fully aware of the responsibilities that rest on his shoulders as he leads his army into battle against the French.

This isn’t the most eventful of history plays, and one that often works best when seen in sequence so that the metamorphosis Henry has undergone on ascending the throne can be truly appreciated. But Law makes an intelligent ruler, ruthless in battle and when leading his army to a victory, yet gently apologetic when, with his limited French, he woos Princess Katharine with her limited English.

Jessie Buckley (runner-up a few years back in a TV talent show to find a Nancy for Oliver!) plays her with delightful charm, and there are more welcome touches of humour, too, from the Welsh Captain Fluellen and from Ron Cook’s reprobate Pistol, forced to eat a raw leek in a production which tempers patriotism with acknowledgment of the cruel brutality of war.

When: Until February 15

Where: Noel Coward Theatre, St. Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4AU

Tickets range from £10 - £57.50. To book, click here.


Theatre: Henry V
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