‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more’

Shakespeare’s masterpiece of the turbulence of war and the arts of peace tells the romantic story of Henry’s campaign to recapture the English possessions in France. But the ambitions of this charismatic king are challenged by a host of vivid characters caught up in the real horrors of war.

Henry V, which opened the new Globe with the words ‘O for a muse of fire’, celebrates the power of language to summon into life courts, pubs, ships and battlefields within the ‘wooden O’ - and beyond.

Much loved for his performance as Prince Hal in Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 (2010), Jamie Parker returns to Hal’s journey as Henry V. Other credits included The History Boys at the National Theatre, on Broadway and on film.

In association with the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.

Synopsis

The Chorus apologises for this attempt to present a great historical subject in the theatre. Henry hears the legal arguments in favour of his claim to the French crown. He tells the French ambassador who delivers a derisory gift of tennis balls from the Dauphin of France, that he will reclaim the former English possessions in France.

The Chorus describes the English fleet preparing to embark from Southampton and warns of three traitors in Henry's command. Before leaving, Henry exposes the traitors and they are led off for execution. In London, the old boon companions of Henry's youth, Pistol, Bardolph, Nym, Hostess Quickly and Falstaff's former page, lament the death of Falstaff. The men and the boy decide to seek their fortunes in the King's campaign.

The Chorus announces the siege of the French seaport of Harfleur. With the exception of the boy, Henry's old companions are more interested in looting than fighting. They have to be driven through the breach in the town wall. Fluellen laments that his fellow captain, MacMorris, has laid the mines under the walls improperly. Harfleur is taken, but the army is sickly and Henry plans to retire to Calais. At the French Court, Princess Katherine learns English from Alice, her lady in waiting.

The French send a great force to meet the English. Pistol, seeking pardon for Bardolph (who has robbed a church), begins a quarrel with Fluellen. Fluellen later reports Bardolph's execution to the King. At Agincourt, near Calais, the King, in disguise, visits his soldiers at night. He begins a quarrel with Williams, which they determine to resolve after the battle. Meanwhile, the French dice for the numbers of English prisoners they will take. Henry rejects all representations from the French for ransom and, against enormous odds, engages them in battle. Pistol takes a French prisoner and the French appear to be losing. When they regroup, Henry orders the execution of his French prisoners. The boys left to guard the English camp are killed by the French. The English are victorious and Henry resolves his quarrel with Williams.

In the aftermath, the French and English losses are numbered and Fluellen settles his score with Pistol. To reinforce his right to the throne of France on the death of the French King, Henry woos and wins Princess Katherine.

Cast

Brid Brennan

CHORUS / QUEEN ISABEL

Graham Butler
DUKE OF BOURBON / ALEXANDER COURT

Nigel Cooke
DUKE OF EXETER

Giles Cooper
MONTJOY / MONSIEUR LE FER / SIR THOMAS GREY

Sam Cox
PISTOL

Kurt Egyiawan
LOUIS THE DAUPHIN


Matthew Flynn

CAPTAIN GOWER

David Hargreaves

KING OF FRANCE / NYM / SIR THOMAS ERPINGHAM

Beruce Khan

JOHN BATES / DUKE OF YORK

James Lailey
EARL OF WESTMORELAND / CAPTAIN MACMORRIS

Brendan O'Hea
CAPTAIN FLUELLEN / BISHOP OF ELY

Jamie Parker

HENRY V

Paul Rider

BARDOLPH / ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY / DUKE OF BURGUNDY

Olivia Ross

PRINCESS KATHERINE / BOY

Chris Starkie

Michael Williams/ Earl of Cambridge/ Duke of Orleans/ Captain Jamy MICHAEL WILLIAMS / EARL OF CAMBRIDGE / DUKE OF ORLEANS

Lisa Stevenson

HOSTESS QUICKLY / ALICE

Roger Watkins
CONSTABLE OF FRANCE / GOVERNOR OF HARFLEUR

Creatives

Dominic Dromgoole

DIRECTOR


Jonathan Fensom

DESIGNER


Claire van Kampen

COMPOSER


Sian Williams

CHOREOGRAPHER


Kate Waters

FIGHT DIRECTOR


Ross MacGibbon

DIRECTED FOR THE SCREEN