Henry V (2016)


The reviews are in! Here are a few things the Ithaca Journal had to say about Henry V:

"This game of thrones tale splendidly revisits the 1415 Battle of Agincourt and the enterprising exploits of the former Prince Hal...intrigue and action abound. The program's excellent notes supply the complicated historical background, but the storyline is easily followed onstage...

"Nick Shuhan...assumes the complex role of Henry with both passion and grace. The lynchpin of the action and of this production, he's expressive in gesture, clear in articulation, regal in his certainty and bearing. Whether he's wooing the French princess, inspiring his 'band of brothers' in Shakespeare's famous rousing speeches, or studying his soldiers while disguised, he's utterly persuasive.

"The king's followers, high and low, and their Gallic adversaries admirably people this tale...Jack Sherman is brilliantly comic as Fluellen, the feisty, by-the-book Welsh captain, both loved and mocked...

"Ponton opened this production with two passages from earlier plays, providing context and motive. He ends it with a striking future tableau — Henry and his Katherine, surrounded by the new royal court, cooing over the infant Henry VI...It's a quiet moment that captures the power of this production. Though the play has occupied what Shakespeare calls 'small time,' we've been roused to feel the scope and sweep of history, its bittersweet and off-tragic stakes."

Read the full review here

And from the Cornell Daily Sun:

"The cast and crew of the Ithaca Shakespeare Company’s production, staged and performed in Ithaca’s own Hangar Theatre this February, are more than up to the challenge. It is abundantly clear, moreover, that they relished every second of creativity and dedication that went into the show’s production...Every available inch of the Hangar Theatre is filled: the terrified inhabitants of Harfleur plead with the English from amongst the audience, and imaginary longbow fire from the gallery decimates a charge of French cavalry.

"This same stage, more importantly, is populated by a wonderful array of characters whom the show’s cast brings admirably to life...Particularly of note among the supporting cast is Jack Sherman as the Welsh captain Fluellen. His infatuation with Pompey the Great, puffed-out chest and unflagging pride in his idiosyncratic Welshness mark him as one of the most charismatic and genuinely funny presences in the cast.

"This is, however, a play about a king...As King Harry, Nick Shuhan’s performance becomes progressively more perceptive as the play carries on, balancing the rigid expectations of his court and the realities of his emotional life...In his conduct before his allies and his enemies, Henry must maintain an unflinching, lionlike demeanor, despite his very real fears and anguishes. This is a young man starved of his father’s love, undertaking a labor of Hercules. Nick Shuhan’s Henry is as personable, witty and loving as he is vulnerable...He is unfailingly modest, and it’s his gentle, clumsy flirtation with Danielle Bates’ Katherine, the French princess, that ends the play. The play’s final image is of Henry standing with Katherine as she cradles their newborn son; after a destructive bloodbath, the end result is love and new life.

"ISC’s Henry V is unique for this idiosyncratic optimism, which never comes from martial panegyric, but rather from the celebration of the humanity of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances...No show, perhaps, can ever truly capture that day in 1415, but they can try, and they’ll be damned if they don’t give it their marvelous all."

Read the full review here