5 Star Review for ‘HENRY V’

HENRY V AT LUDLOW CASTLE: ‘a piece of dynamic, compelling theatre’

I have seen Henry V a number of times. Firstly because it’s fairly easy to understand and twice, because it’s a great play.  Here to There’s production of said play did not disappoint.  Director Carl Walker admits in his pre-amble that he had to “ pinch himself” to have the opportunity to direct this historic play with the added bonus of an “amazing cast” and  he hit the nail on the head.  This production succeeded mainly due to the expert choice of casting.

Producing Henry V is no mean feat.  There are 30+ characters and it can be confusing for the audience when actors double, treble or indeed quadruple up.  The Here to There cast of 20 provided a smooth, ever-so-easy to understand performance.  It was simple, unadulterated and  pure. “Simple” did not mean “boring” – in this instance “simple” equated to quality.

Notable performances for me lay with Ashleigh Aston (a female Nym ), Tom Silverton (The Dauphin- a la Jack Sparrow- style), Simon Garrington (Pistol), Kevin Dewsbury (Leek- bashing Captain Fluellen) and the man himself , David Hubball ( a controlled and coherent King Henry V).  Another nod to Ben Andrew (Captain Macmorris)  the only Irishman in a Shakespeare play and Stuart Ash (Captain Jamey) for providing the very funny but controlled “ English, Scottish Irish, Welsh” routine. Here to There founder Andrew Whittall (Chorus) broke the fourth wall in his Martin Bell suit and kept the audience suitably informed as to both the plot and the required imagination to use in crossing seas and going into battle.

I still get a thrill watching Shakespeare in the grounds of Ludlow Castle- referenced by Shakespeare himself  in RIchard lll.  The magnificent backdrop of rugged Norman walls and battlements supported the play as did the environment itself, the birds singing, a gentle if not chilly breeze and a rather unwelcome screeching of car tyres in the market square.  As the night darkened, the lighting bounced off the Outer Bailey creating a real sense of period  drama.

The well-known scenes: The French Lesson, The battle, The leek abuse were all played with great humour.  The intense sword-fighting was stimulating and it was of no surprise to learn from the programme that the Company had employed fight choreographer Simon Blood Devay to work with the cast.  The siege of Harfleur was powerful and both the English and the audience were drawn in to the Kings rousing speech particularly famous for its evocation of a brotherhood in arms.  We felt a huge wave of nationalistic pride.

I’ve seen many renditions of Henry V where the plot has been spun and recoiled so much that the audience lose the actual sense and style of The Bard himself.  This production proved that you don’t need all bells and whistles to produce a piece of dynamic, compelling theatre. What an enjoyable night!

Bev Jenkins

Guild of Drama Adjudicators

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2nd Review for Henry V at Ludlow Castle

And another great review in for Henry V!

‘Anyone fearing Shakespeare’s history plays need not worry about Here to There Productions’ outdoor offering of Henry V, now showing at the 2019 Ludlow Fringe Festival. Carl Walker has directed a wonderfully clear version of the story that is staged in the stunning grounds of Ludlow Castle, with medieval towers looming over the cast as they strut and fret their way across the stage whilst the sun sets behind them and darkness creeps in from the beyond the battlements.

Shakespeare’s history plays can sometimes seem heavy, sluggish and hard to follow and, with smaller casts being the norm in most productions nowadays, in can be tricky to work out who is who and what the hell is going on with so much doubling of parts. With a cast of twenty talented actors, Here to There’s production suffered from none of these problems. It was clear and engaging throughout.

Leading man David Hubball, supported by a very strong cast (from which it’s hard to pick any favourite performances as the whole ensemble worked so well together), gave a commanding, clear and intelligent performance as Henry. Gone is the rambunctious Hal from Henry IV. Hubball plays the prince turned king as royal, rousing, diplomatic, disputatious, victorious and vulnerable in turns as we see him at court, in battle and wooing Princes Katherine (Bryony Tebbutt) after his success at Agincourt.

If you’re in or around Ludlow between the 24th and 28th June then pack up a picnic, pop some prosecco and go and watch one of The Bard’s best history plays in a beautiful setting performed by a troop of talented actors. It’ll be well worth the price of the ticket.’

Review by Sean McGrath: Creative Director, AlterEgo Creative Productions

FIRST REVIEW FOR HENRY V, LUDLOW CASTLE

1ST REVIEW ON TWITTER

Chris Eldon Lee reviews ‘Henry V’ which is at Ludlow Castle until Friday June 28th.

‘Henry the Fifth is never going to be a complete comedy, but Here to There Productions have exhumed a fair bit of humour from the old text. I don’t recall ever having giggled so much at Shakespeare’s most patriotic play.

Comedy tinges the darkest moments. When Henry weigh us waging war, he and his Bishop make a mess of the paperwork; scrolls dropping dead to the floor. And the sight of the French generals shouting insults at the English slips into Monty Python territory.
But Carl Walker’s production does not fight shy of the tragedy of war. Actor Mark Topping almost has tears in his eyes as his character, the Duke of Exeter, accounts for his missing colleagues … and news of the death of Bardolph flattens the antics of his tavern pals like a ton of bricks.

Compared to the expansive regime of a few years ago, this return of Shakespeare to Ludlow Castle is a pocket production; but it still delivers its punches. Presented on a two-level wooden ‘D’ in the outer bailey, this is a much more intimate affair with the actors communicating eye to the eye with the audience. And it’s all the better for it.
David Hubbard’s King Henry is a handsome brute in an unpolished crown. He’s a bit like a public-school boy who’s just been ejected from ‘Love Island’. He’s passionate and, ultimately, compassionate. His presentation of the text is persuasive and he’s at his best when not being bombastic. There is a delicate irony in his gentle conversation with his troops as he describes the King to them from the safety of his disguise … and there is open honesty in the wooing of Bryony Tebbutt’s not-too-chaste Princess Katherine. Their union might be good for his country, but he genuinely loves his enemy.

His big speeches could be less restless. ‘Unto the breach’ is weakened by his wanderings. Kings should plant their feet and face the world. By contrast, his stillness in his soliloquy on the Eve of Battle is quietly powerful.

Several actors caught my eye. Tom Silverton’s decadent ‘Dauphin’ has the truculence of Captain Jack Sparrow. Indulging himself with wine and grapes, he is supercilious and bored when not the centre of attention. He’s a star turn, delivering Shakespeare with an easy beauty in two languages and upping the chuckle factor when comparing his horse to his mistress. This Dauphin has the air of a man who has plenty of both.
Morgan Rees-Davies is a hugely versatile actor who I’ve admired before. He brings the languid, slow-witted spirit of Roger Lloyd-Pack to Bardolph. Ashleigh Aston enlivens Act 1 with her blustering Nym; Tim Baker’s voice bounces around the castle walls with his domineering King of France, and Lewis Formby’s ‘Boy’ belies his young years with his superb delivery of Shakespeare’s subtleties and Kevin Dewsberry’s Captain Fluellen is a hugely sympathetic and nuanced portrayal of someone fighting someone else’s war
Humour pops up in all sorts of surprising places. Carl Walker works the “Welshman, Scotsman and Irishman” joke with aplomb. The Welsh leek is actually eaten, the Scotsman is even more incomprehensible when trying to talk and eat an apple at the same time (Shakespeare’s groundlings would have loved that!) and the Irishman, with a touch of wicked wit, is an expert in explosives.

The women are excellent in this male-dominated play. Jasmin Arden-Brown brings a touch of ‘Windsor’ to proceedings (Barbara, rather than ‘House of…’) and her repetitive body-parts vocabulary scene with the French Princess is a real hoot. Bryony Tebbutt actually sounds like she’s never spoken English before.

The story is neatly held together by a rather world-weary Andrew Whittle, as The Chorus, in a completely incongruous Marks and Spencer’s lounge suit…
his picture-painting amplified by an impressively moody soundscape. When he tells us to look at the horses, we hear them, clear as a bell.

With perfect timing at the dress rehearsal, the sombre close of the play was underlined by the ten o’clock chimes of St Laurence’s Church. If they can pull that trick off every night, it will add a touch of magic to a most inventive production.’

OPEN CASTING CALL FOR ‘HENRY V’

TWITTER CASTING PIC

We are holding two casting sessions for our next open-air stage production, Shakespeare’s ‘HENRY V’, directed by Carl Walker and which will be performed in Ludlow Castle between Mon 24 and Fri 28 June (with Tech Rehearsal Thurs 20 June and Dress Fri 21 June), as part of the Ludlow Fringe. Rehearsals will take place during April to June- some may be during the weekday, as well as evenings and weekends. Details will be given at auditions. We are offering two dates for open auditions:

AUDITION 1: MON 4 MARCH, 7-10pm, Little Witley Village Hall

AUDITION 2: SUN 10 MARCH, 10.30am-1.30pm, Little Witley Village Hall

If you would like to audition, you must register your interest via email to Carl Walker on carl@wild-edric.com.

The principal roles available are listed below (with some parts being solo, some requiring doubling up). We look forward to seeing some old and new faces at these auditions

MALE ROLES:

HENRY V: Male. Playing age 25-35 yrs. Stage combat experience preferred

DUKE OF EXETER (the King’s Uncle): Male Playing age 50+ yrs

EARL OF WESTMORELAND/CAPTAIN MACMORRIS: Male. Playing age: 30+. This is a ‘Doubling’ role. Must be able to do an Irish accent for MacMorris

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY/CAPTAIN GOWER: Male. Playing age 40+. This is a ‘Doubling’ role. Must be able to do a Scottish accent for Gower.

BISHOP ELY/CAPT FLUELLEN: Male. Playing age 30+ This is a ‘Doubling’ role. Must be able to do a Welsh accent for Fluellen.

PISTOL: Male. Playing age 30+ yrs

BARDOLPH/DUKE OF BURGUNDY: Male. Playing age 30+ This is a ‘Doubling’ role.

KING OF FRANCE/SIR THOMAS OF ERPINGHAM: Male. Playing age 40+ This is a ‘Doubling’ role.

DAUPHIN (King of France’s son): Male. Playing age: 20+

MONTJOY: (French Herald): Male. Playing age: 20+

CAPT JAMY/DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE/DUKE OF ORLEONS: Male. Playing age 40+ This is a ‘Doubling’ role.

CONSTABLE/HONFLEUR: Male. Playing age 40+ This is a ‘Doubling’ role.

LORD SCROOP/DUKE OF BOURBON: Male. Playing age 40+ This is a ‘Doubling’ role.

SIR THOMAS GREY/LORD RAMBURES: Male. Playing age 40+ This is a ‘Doubling’ role.

BOY: Male. Playing age 12+

FEMALE ROLES:

PRINCESS KATHERINE (daughter of King of France). Female. Playing age 18+

MISTRESS QUICKLY (wife of Pistol)/QUEEN OF FRANCE: This is a ‘Doubling’ role. Female. Playing Age 20+

MAID ALICE (maid to Katherine): Female. Playing age 18+

NYM: Female. Playing age 18+. (this is a change to the traditional male role of Nym…think ‘kick ass’ female warrior!

CASTING NOTICE FOR ‘RACING DEMON’

Auditions for Racing Demon are at Little Witley Village Hall, Little Witley, Worcestershire on Friday and Sunday 9 and 11 November at 7.30pm and noon respectively. Audition Notices available upon request to Andrew Whittle – please email at info@heretothereproductions.com

This is to be performed at The Coach House Theatre in Malvern between 6th and 9th February 2019 (5 performances including the matinee on Saturday night). The get in will be on Sunday 3rd February with the technical and dress rehearsals on 4th and 5th.

The plan would be to start rehearsals at the end of November to allow for the fact that there will be a hiatus for Christmas and allowance might have to be made for possible bad weather. For those that are going to be heavily involved in pantomimes over the Christmas period it is unlikely that your involvement could be accommodated.

The Cast

 The Right Reverend Charlie Allen, Bishop of Southward

Described by David Hare as in his 60s, a tall iconic figure. He is authoritative, waspish and out to remove Reverend Lionel Espy from his post in Southwark.

Frances Parnell

Described by Hare as 30, blonde. However, the age range can be from mid-20s to mid-30s and hair colour is immaterial. She is from an established Church of England family but not a practising Christian. Begins the play in a relationship with the young curate Tony.

The Reverend Tony Ferris

Described by Hare as being in his 20s. He is enthusiastic, zealous and determined to get on in the Church and bring parishioners back to the Church and halt the declining congregation numbers. Believes his team leader, Reverend Espy is not up to the job.

Stella Marr

Described by Hare as black, in her mid 20s. She does not necessarily need to be black. She is a victim of domestic violence and in search of help from the Church.

The Reverend Donald “streaky” Bacon

Described by Hare as in his early 40s, cheerful and outgoing with glasses. He can be younger – mid-30s. A light, fun part.

The Reverend Harry Henderson

Described by Hare as smooth-voice, short and dumpy in his mid-50s. Could be older. A closest homosexual who is a victim of outing by the press. A quiet, determined character.

Heather Espy

The wife of Reverend Espy. Hare describes her as being in her early 50s but has adopted an older look. Skirt and cardigan, hair prematurely grey. Neglected by her husband. Suffers a stroke and becomes remote but “still there”.

Ewan Gilmour

Ewan is a struggling Scottish actor in his early 20s and is homosexual. He is dependent upon Harry for support.

The Right Reverend Gilbert Heffernan, the Bishop of Kingston

Described by Hare as young for a Bishop, only in his 40s with a lean jaw and slim athletic build. In fact, he need not be early 40s and could even be in his 60s. Obviously subordinate to the Bishop of Southwark. Historically has supported Reverend Lionel Espy but now caught in the cross fire between them.

 

 

 

 

 

Four Minutes Twelve Seconds

The first production of 2017 will be Four Minutes Twelve Seconds by James Fritz and will be presented at The Coach House in Malvern and Ludlow Brewery during the weeks commencing 20 and 27 February respectively. In a world where smartphones are ubiquitous this deeply provocative and topical drama throws a light on the sorts of insidious opportunities new technology offers - where nothing dies online, except reputation....

Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’

A Rock and Roll performance of love, passion and tragedy.

“Shakespeare’s classic tale about two young lovers is performed fantastically by a very talented group of actors. The passion in this play comes alive in the actors’ performances and makes a breathtaking show.” – A. Jones

“It is beautiful to watch the progression of love and passion in this performance and really feel a connection between the actors and between actor and audience.” – Jessica Lewis