Reviews for HENRY IV, PART ONE:

 

Prince Hal, You're Keeping Bad Company
By MICHAEL SOMMERS
| The New York Times
Some 400 years before television audiences were riveted by the medieval struggles in "Game of Thrones," William Shakespeare entertained Elizabethans with his Wars of the Roses cycle. These eight history plays imaginatively dramatize troubled English kings and their heirs during the 15th century, when the Plantagenet dynasty degenerated into the clashing houses of Lancaster and York. Related Times Topic: New Jersey Arts Connect with NYTMetro Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for news and conversation. Packed with battles, intrigue, compelling characters and memorable wordplay, the dramas were big hits in Shakespeare's time, and retain their potential to resonate today. The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey in Madison presents a handsome staging of the second work in this cycle, "Henry IV, Part 1," as the opening production of its 50th season.
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'Henry IV, Part One': A princely show
By Peter Filichia
| The Star Ledger
The actor playing Falstaff is wonderful - but so is the whole staff of “Henry IV, Part One.”
The Bard’s history plays aren’t done as often as his tragedies and comedies.
Joseph Discher, the perennially inventive director at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, knows an audience wants to be moved and enjoy a few laughs. If we all get a little history in the bargain, that’ll be all right, too. There are plenty of laughs in this, Shakespeare’s most riotous history play, about young layabout Prince Hal, and how he eventually reforms, to the surprise and delight of his father, Henry IV.
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A crowning achievement Shakespeare Theatre's 'Henry IV, Part One' grabs the throne
By C.W. Walker
| The Asbury Park Press
Ever wonder what it must have been like to sit in the audience of the Globe in the 16th century and watch Shakespeare's plays? You may experience a fleeting impression of it during The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's production of "Henry IV, Part One" now on stage at the F.M. Kirby Theatre on the Drew University campus in Madison. Jonathan Wentz's Tudor-inspired set design - all exposed beams and wooden rafters with an impressive center staircase - looks like it was lifted from that fabled theater like a slice of pie. Paul H. Canada's sumptuous period costumes appear authentic right down to the little tufts of fur (ermine?) that circle round the shoulders of the king.
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Shakespeare Theatre of NJ's HENRY IV, PART ONE Is A Triumph
By Patrick Maley
| Stage Magazine
HENRY IV, PART ONE is among Shakespeare's finest plays. At once witty, moving, comic and suspenseful, and featuring in Prince Hal and Jack Falstaff two of the playwright's greatest characters, it is perhaps the play containing the most of what we love about Shakespeare. It remains, however, too often under-appreciated and much too rarely performed. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey bucks both of these trends as it opens its fiftieth anniversary season with a simply marvelous production of this monument of a play.
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REVIEW: "HENRY IV, PART I" at The SHAKESPEARE THEATRE OF NEW JERSEY
By Ruth Ross
| NJ Arts Maven
There's trouble brewing in the north of England in the form of rebellion waged by three of the king's most powerful vassals: the Earls of Northumberland, Wales and Scotland, derailing Henry IV's plans for a holy crusade to Jerusalem. And if that's not enough, the Prince of Wales, the king's oldest son and heir apparent, is shirking his duties, carousing with the barflies of East Cheap and spending his days in a drunken stupor. What's a father (and king) to do? That's the $64 question facing King Henry IV of England in Shakespeare's history play, Henry IV, Part I, now receiving a superb, riveting production by the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey as the inaugural offering of their fiftieth season. What might come off as a dry, boring chronicle of what it's like to be a king has been turned by Shakespeare into a family drama of epic proportions, filled with low comedy; high dudgeon; and ruminations on honor, loyalty and leadership, making for a satisfying evening of theater and showing us that the royals aren't so different from you and me... Click here to read more.

 

‘Henry IV, Part One’ Roars into Life at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
Liz Keill
| The Alternative Press
MADISON, NJ - Both battles and buffoonery make for a stirring combination in William Shakespeare’s history play, "Henry IV, Part I." The play begins with King Henry discussing pending conflicts with the Scots and Northumberland, which will climax in the Battle of Shrewsbury, and wondering where his hapless son, Hal, has gone to. Of course Hal is hanging out with Falstaff and others at the local tavern. Still, there's a certain regal grace that ultimately helps Hal realize he has a responsibility to the throne. Click here to read more.

 

"Henry IV, Part One" offers belly laughs and scene stealers galore
Janine M. Torsiello
| Morris Beats
Shakespeare isn't always easy for everyone to follow or enjoy. Either you get him or you don't and often a title like "Henry IV, Part One" could be enough to scare most people away. After all it's one of the history plays and it doesn't sound very inviting like one of the comedies or romances might. But if you let those preconceptions keep you from seeing this opening production of the 50th anniversary season of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, you'd be missing out on a lot of belly laughs, great drama and an overall extremely entertaining show. The play begins rather soberly as King Henry the IV, formerly Henry Bolingbroke is speaking with his advisors. The country is at war and about to become even more deeply entrenched. It seems this king, who usurped the throne from his cousin the rightful king, Richard II, is now on the verge of being betrayed by the very men who helped him take the crown in the first place. Click here to read more.

 

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey honors its name with a fabulous production
By Bob Brown
| Princeton Packet
HOW often do you get a chance to see one of Shakespeare’s greatest history plays? While there are no end of A Midsummer Night's Dream performances from season to season, this spring you have the rare privilege of seeing Henry IV, Part One, playing through June 24 at the F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison.
There’s an unfounded prejudice against the history plays, as if they’re the broccoli of the stage - nourishing but hardly exciting. Watching this production ofHenry IV, Part One, however, is a revelation. It’s like a tragedy wrapped around a comedy.
The opening scene sets the stage for trouble, as Henry IV (Brent Harris) is ditching his campaign to the Crusades. He’s bedeviled by conflicts with the Scots and Welsh on his northern borders. Guilt-ridden over his quashing of Richard II, he insults his allies, Earls Northumberland, Worcester and Westmoreland (Glenn Beatty, Conan McCarty, and John Little, respectively)..
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A CurtainUp New Jersey Review of HENRY IV, PART ONE
By Simon Saltzman | CurtainUp New Jersey
Under the sterling direction of Joseph Discher, the play has the effect of flying by or rather catapulting by. Not an insignificant feat considering that the Bard's language, the complex history that propels the text and the confluence of so many dynamic events and characters require our most dutiful concentration and focus. I am rather glad that the added complexities that are expanded upon in Part Two have not been attached (as they have often been), although an added hour or two given the excellence of this company would not have been ill-advised...
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REVIEW: 'Henry IV' at The Shakespeare Theatre makes history exciting
By Stuart Duncan
| NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
HENRY IV, PART ONE is among Shakespeare's finest plays. At once witty, moving, comic and suspenseful, and featuring in Prince Hal and Jack Falstaff two of the playwright's greatest characters, it is perhaps the play containing the most of what we love about Shakespeare. It remains, however, too often under-appreciated and much too rarely performed. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey bucks both of these trends as it opens its fiftieth anniversary season with a simply marvelous production of this monument of a play.
Click here to read more.

 

Rousing production of 'Henry IV, part one' at the STNJ
By Rick Busciglio
| Northern New Jersey Theater Examiner
As the British celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the current Queen Elizabeth, who sits secure on her throne, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey launched their Golden anniversary last night with Shakespeare's rousing tale of "King Henry IV, Part One." Henry, you may recall, won his crown via a bloody civil war that deposed his cousin the former king, Richard II. The play alternates between drama in the form of murderous treachery in a long struggle to keep the throne, a King's despair over the irresponsible antics of his eldest son, Prince Harry, and high comedy presented by one of Shakespeare's most memorable characters, Sir John Falstaff. The overstuffed Falstaff may have been knighted, but, he is happiest in the bawdy underworld of dark taverns populated with thieves and whores. He is also the mentor to the rowdy young prince providing instruction in living a wasteful, irresponsible life.
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50th Season Opens With Raucous History Play
By William Westhoven
| Madison Patch
Sex, violence, rebellious children, rowdy drunks and lots of heavy metal. These disturbing behaviors may sound more like the trappings of classic rock than classical theater, but it all took place more than 600 years ago, and is now being revived by the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison. Yes, we're talking about Shakespeare’s "Henry IV, Part One," one of those history plays that so many people run away from. Too bad, because they should be running, not walking to the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre at Drew University to enjoy this wildly entertaining history lesson. Modern directors often update Shakespeare’s history plays in the hopes of attracting wary theatergoers who fear a dry and dreary exposition. Ironically, Director Joe Discher has created a very palatable production while presenting the story in traditional trappings.
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