Harry the Sixth starts Globe’s Henry plays at Bath

SHAKESPEARE’S Globe on Tour has had a busy summer, performing the three parts of Henry VI in some evocative places, including the battlefields of Towton, Tewkesbury, St Albans and Barnet.

Until Saturday 28th September, the company is in the more conventional surroundings of Bath’s Theatre Royal, where the Bard’s rarely-performed trilogy is on stage, nightly in sequence with all three in succession on Saturday.

Directed by Nick Bagnell, this complicated, energetic and entertaining trio takes the audience on a helter-skelter journey from the death of the heroic Henry V through to the rise of the equally famous Richard III, via the reign of Henry VI.

The set, with its floor-to-ceiling central throne and its scaffolding towers at each side, allows for the maximum actorial multi-tasking, as Lancastrians become Yorkists become French at the donning of a tabard.

Surrounded by a selection of drums, taken up and beaten at relevant parts of the action, it is very typical of the Globe style – intense, immediate and involving.

The story of Harry the Sixth (and probably the two other plays as well) is dependent on a quick read of the family trees in the very informative programme, and close attention from the audience.

One minute the limp Bastard of Orleans becomes the heroic John Talbot, both in the person of recent Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduate Joe Jameson.

Graham Butler is the strange young king, suddenly finding his unexpected voice in the nick of time.

Beatriz Romily was a plucky Joan of Arc, and returns in two more roles.

It’s a powerful experience, and tickets are still available. GP-W

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