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My God, Luka's right. The verse speaking is awful. Who'd've thought that Pat Stewart would make such a hash of Gaunt's "This royal throne of kings" speech.

A Few minutes later

We gave up and took the dogs for a walk.

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I don't know whether to mock or to cry. They might as well be reading shopping lists.


I know the original Hollow Crown was heavily adapted from the plays, but the cuts here are all over the shop ...

And i was feeling uncultured for wathing lucius instead. Sounds like a luckky escape

Not half as uncultured as those of us watching Primeval earlier.

The RII costumes and scenery are very pretty...

Indeed. Not that it isn't pretty... but that's all that it has going for it.

I shudder to think what Hiddlesdon is going to make of Hal/Henry V.

Though I know some of these people can both act and speak verse. All I can think of is to blame the director.

I shudder to think what Hiddlesdon is going to make of Hal/Henry V.

A right royal hash, that's what. I'm avoiding it like the plague. To quote one of my favourite movies:

Once you've heard the truth, everything else is just cheap whiskey.

To be fair, my Hal is Ian Holm...

Not having seen that version, unfortunately, I can only imagine that he must have been very good. And I'm not entirely closed to the possibility that one day I may see a better Hal/Henry than the chubby blond one, but I know going in that Widdleston definitely won't be it.

(Thomas Brodie-Sangster would be an interesting choice... )

One of the best Hals I ever saw was in a National Youth Theatre production in Manchester when I was in the fifth form (and doing Henry IV Part 1 as the set Shakespeare for O Level. It's not supposed to be a woman's play, but we all adored it, and so enthused the rest of the year, who were doing something else - because only my teacher loved it too - that our school trips to see productions got rather large.) I have no idea who was in it, but their Hal was an absolute triumph. I always regretted not seeing the older RSC version with Richard Burton as Hal -- he was gorgeous in the photos -- but that was really before my time.

Yes, I wish I'd seen Burton's Henry V with Julian Glover as Montjoy ...

I did see Burton's Henry surcoat at the V&A a couple years ago and until then I hadn't realised how small he was; 'little body to a might heart' indeed.

All these winsome pretty boys like Tom H and Ben W are all very well in TV drama, but Shakespeare is a different challenge altogether. It's why actors like Alan Howard have made successful careers out of the RSC and done relatively little TV work - they can speak the damn verse properly.

And now I shall go and be a grumpy old fart elsewhere *g*.

I am going to have to go down to the storeroom and dig out my Bardathon DVDs to watch Jacobi's version.

I watched about half of the Jacobi programme afterwards, which only reminded me of some of those great performances. Although McKellen sounded very hammy *g*.

McKellan often does, (dear boy.

Still one of the great versions of Richard III though.

Larry! Dear, dear Larry!

Yes to the Richard III. And the Macbeth with Judi Dench ...

I've been recording this, and am bracing myself for the horror.

Unnecessary religious imagery is unnecessary. And Richard really can't be both Jesus and St Sebastian. That's just greedy.

Yes, Richard does see himself as Christ towards the end of this play but that is towards the end and WS makes the point so well himself that there is no need for the costuming department to beat us over the head with it.

The camera pan from the coffin to the stained glass window was one step too far into the realms of the bleeding obvious, but since I've never seen this play before I found it interesting. And I enjoyed the Jacobi feature afterwards.

It's an odd play, and one with which I am overly familiar. I love the opening and the duel scene, and they cut both to ribbons.

It's partly a trial run for Hamlet and partly a commentary on contemporary politics disguised as taken-straight-from-the-pages-of-Holinshed history. It has some astonishing blank verse and some dreadful couplets (which the editor seems to have deliberately chosen to leave in.)

It's also a play where everything is in the words rather than actions. (What did I say about Hamlet?) Truncating the words destroys the full impact of the play.

The whole play was treated incredibly literally Just In Case We Missed Something In The Text ...

I did stick it to the end, but the Christ/St Sebastian stuff had me rolling my eyes.

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