RadleyRadley

  • Radley College, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 2HR
  • Telephone: 01235 543000, Fax: 01235 543106

Accessibility

Portals

Portals

Navigation

Main Menu

'Henry V'

'Henry V'

From Wednesday 8th to Friday 10th June, the Radley Theatre was host to the final third of the ‘Henriad Trilogy’, ‘Henry V’, performed by members of Shells and Removes. The action takes place following Henry IV’s death, with the young Henry V now on the throne. Although set in the 15th Century, this performance took on a modern adaptation, with coloured combat jackets and pistols, as examples; a perfect move from the two directors, Mr Lowe and 6.1 student, Arran Ryder (H Social).

Indeed, the first point worth mentioning was the magnificent set that Matt Barker and Jonathan Goodall had created. On stage, there were four movable ladders/stairs, which could be used to represent different objects. This made the performance much more fluid and created amazing positioning on stage, as there were characters at varying heights; something that I doubt has been done before on the Radley stage. Indeed, there were times when there were many cast members on stage at one time and to have these varying height positions created a fantastic visual image. Not only this, but there was a cyclorama at the back of the stage, which had moving images or videos projected onto it during various scenes: most notably at the beginning, where we had a five-minute video (created by Jon Goodall) of various wars during the 20th century (to depict War’s evolution and also to set the scene for the beginning of the Production).

But of course we cannot forget the actors. Playing Henry V was Jamie Walker (Remove, K, below) who was, for me, one of the stand-out performances, as he managed to grapple with the intricacies involved in performing Shakespeare and seemed to add his modernised twist on the lines, which made for a much more diverse and exciting performance.

In order to fill in the off-stage action, we had a Chorus of six members (Henry Chapman, Henry Portwood, William Redley, Tim Macnaughton, Jack Dhillon and Caspar Osborne-Young), who would appear all around the Theatre, when their respective scenes arrived. As Charles VI, the King of France and as Louis, the Dauphin, we had George Medd and Freddie Pratt, who acted as nice contrasts to their ‘enemy’, Henry V. It’s worth mentioning that Freddie’s costume involved a backward baseball cap and trainers, which was a very stark, but welcome, change of Shakespearian costume. We even had a range of accents, with Wes Brolly and Albi Tufnell playing Captain Fluellen and Captain Gower, both Welshmen, and also Mrs Munro’s daughter, Gaëlle, playing Princess Katherine of France and Eléanore Kennedy playing Alice, Katherine’s attending lady and English teacher, both giving the performance a French touch. A feminine presence on stage seemed necessary for what is a very masculine play.

Furthermore, I have to mention the wonderful array of costumes that were seen, all thanks to Lianne Rowland’s awesome creativity. On the back of each Jacket were the names of the boys’ character, which were all hand-stencilled; considering the number of characters in the play, I think it’s safe to say that that is a very impressive feat, and one which paid off on the night. I know how stressful it can be backstage, so it is no doubt that Lianne, along with Dresser, Shellie Evans, deserve much praise. Indeed, for all students and staff who contribute backstage, their hard work definitely shone through.

Finally, it is hoped that as many boys had the opportunity to attend this marvellous production of ‘Henry V’ and took inspiration from Arran Ryder, who, it must be said, deserves all the credit he can get for taking on such an enormous task, whilst maintaining all of his other commitments around the College. And praise of course must also go to Mr Lowe for completing such an amazing Shakespearian Trilogy.

Review by Harry Rogers, K Social 6.1

Main Menu