Review 2013: Not The Doctor: Shakespeare's Globe's Henry VI battlefield performances.

Theatre After spending all of last year watching and listening to Shakespeare, after completing a run through of what was, then, the complete canon, I imposed a self-inflicted embargo on his plays which ended in October when I viewed the recordings of The Globe's battlefield presentation of Henry VI at Monken Hadley Common in Barnet which were within days of being pulled along with the rest of The Space, the arts experiment run by the Arts Council and the BBC (which has now indeed gone).  Recorded in August at the height of Summer, it nonetheless rained all day, but as is The Globe's way, all of the actors fought through the conditions, their faces sodden, costumes drenched, to offer a superb rendering of these underrated plays in one afternoon and evening in the very place where one of the key battles is set.  If it was an endurance test for the viewers at the home, it's inescapable in viewing just how difficult conditions must have been for those performing, and the audience, an anonymous mass of macs and umbrellas.  The proceedings were compared brilliantly by actor Jamie Parker, who having played Henry V on tour and at the Globe the previous year now had to see the existentially complex spectacle of seeing his character's coffin being brought on stage for the opening act.

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