by William Shakespeare
Dominic Rowan and Miranda Raison star in Shakespeare's psychological exploration of politics and the Catholic Church.
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot. That it do singe yourself.
Shakespeare's psychological exploration of politics laid bare between the King and the Catholic power in the land.
The Tudor Court is locked in a power struggle between its nobles and the Machiavellian Cardinal Wolsey, the King's first minister and the most conspicuous symbol of Catholic power in the land.
Wolsey's ambition knows no bounds and when his chief ally, Queen Katherine, interferes in the King's romance with Anne Boleyn, he brings gigantic ruin upon himself, the Queen and centuries of English obedience to Rome.
Famous in its own day as Shakespeare's most sumptuous and spectacular play, Henry VIII is a gorgeous pageant of masques and royal ceremony; a blaze of fireworks, cannon fire, red satin and cloth-of-gold.
But within the passages of grandeur works the mind of the mature Shakespeare: psychological and political insight, language of great depth and power and, in the figures of Wolsey and Katherine, two of his most vivid and memorable characters.
If the Globe had a roof, this production would surely have blown it off ... Represents the theatre at its very best and makes for a joyous spectacle ... Shakespeare has seldom been performed with more verve.
The Tudor costumes are sumptuous, while the big scenes prove genuinely spectacular... Dominic Rowan plays Henry VIII with wit, energy and sudden enlivening moments of menace; Kate Duchêne proves genuinely touching as the unhappy rejected Katherine, and Miranda Raison brings a welcome dash of sex appeal as Anne Boleyn. Best of all is Ian McNeice’s grotesque Cardinal Wolsey.
Mark Rosenblatt’s sprightly, intelligent production ... Undercutting the pageantry with a sort of Tudor version of The Thick of It.
The production pulls all the stops out in a blaze of mitres, ivory silk, boy choristers in the gallery, and trumpet acclaim for the culminating baptism.
Henry VIII was staged and filmed live at Shakespeare's Globe during the 2010 'Kings and Rogues' season and is part of the Shakespeare's Globe Collection.
Production Photography © John Tramper.
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