Again I am blown away by the excellent acting in Henry IV part one. I am very glad they were able to cast actors that do the play justice.
Fast forward a handful of decades and we find ourselves with an aged Henry IV played by the amazing Jeremy Irons. And, playing the mad cap Prince of Wales, is the enormously talented Tom Hiddleston. Simon Russell Beale plays the slothful Sir John Falstaff, and Joe Armstrong plays Henry "Hotspur" Percy, and Lady Percy played by the lovely Michelle Dockery.
Basically the plot of this play is Henry Percy instigates a rebellion against Henry IV causing most of the strife in the course of the play. Meanwhile, Hal, The Prince of Wales, is busy drinking, whoring, and generally having a good time. It is within this first part of the play, that I discovered, in my opinion is the best soliloquy in this play. It is done in a voice over, showing Hal, leaving the pub, where he spends most of his time. He tells of how he is only acting as a "madcap" prince, and how he will soon change his behavior for the better. It is also at this time, where the king sees it fit to embarrass Hal into good behavior.
The rebellion leads to a battlefield at Shrewsbury, wherein Hal and Hotspur fight, Hal killing Hotspur in the process. I loved this scene. It was well choreographed. There is a back and forth between them that was charged with electricity. As Henry Percy identifies himself to Hal, Henry Percy correctly assumes Hal is Henry Monmouth, in which Hal says back to Hotspur;
"Why, then I see
A very valiant rebel of the name.
I am the Prince of Wales; and think not, Percy,
To share with me in glory any more:
Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere;
Nor can one England brook a double reign,
Of Harry Percy and the Prince of Wales."
After Hotspur is killed by Hal, the fight seems to drain out of the rebels. Falstaff we find that he had carried Hotspur's body from where Hal left it, claiming that he himself had killed Hotspur and not Hal. Hal, showing us that he is still that madcap Prince inside, lets Falstaff take the credit for killing Hotspur
This is where the play ends with the end of the battle. All in all it was very well done and well acted. I have noticed that when a character seems to be alone, they look directly at the camera making it look as if they are speaking directly to the audience. I love this technique. I have also seen it done in Hamlet with David Tennant.
Everyone involved did an amazing job. I'm sure that I will love part two as much as part one. One thing I hope this series does is bring more audiences to the wonder that is Shakespeare. Since Henry IV part two is on tomorrow night, I will be also reviewing that, after I watch it of course. Please let me know what you think!