Beautiful setting for Shakespeare

TO be honest, this tale of the English king’s bid to claim the crown of France was never one of my favourite Shakespearean plays.

Having given it a wide berth since my initial reading I’ve a newfound appreciation for the nuances of the text thanks to this open-air performance.

It goes to show that, in the hands of the right cast, Shakespeare is always at its best when performed rather than read.

Both tragic and humorous, as the sun fell the atmospheric ruins provided the perfect backdrop for this rarely performed play.

The battle scenes were superbly choreographed and the climatic conflict at Agincourt deeply moving.

All involved – from the strong cast to the backstage crew – should be congratulated for bringing such an epic story to the small stage.

If I had to single anybody out it would be Tom Holloway who was mesmerising as Henry, bringing passion and presence to the role and Amy Gibbons as the scene-stealing Mistress Quickly.

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Special mentions must go to Thomas Dennis as Gower and Hal Keys-Holoway as Boy, whose performances belied their ages.

My only real criticism was the use of the smoke machine, which was slightly hit and miss – as it hit me in the face and I missed what was going on on stage.

All in all it was a great way to spend a summer evening.

Wayne Savage

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