Small cast make big impact

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Henry V - Lytham Hall

Illyria’s performance of Henry V has all the qualities which have made Oliver Gray’s productions so popular on the Fylde coast.

James Dangerfield in the title role and on home turf produces an outstanding portrayal of a man imbued, to the point of obsession, with a belief in the importance of his kingship, his England and his words – and all these in God’s name. With an appropriate trace of a Welshness in his voice he revels in every syllable and drew spontaneous applause for some of Henry’s most famous soliloquies, notably the St Crispin’s Day speech

However this show is very far from a one man band and its success is based on very strong and typically Illyrian ensemble playing and a host of inventive and often comic touches.

Ffion Glyn as Princess Katherine and Kevin James as her lady-in-waiting are superb in the English lesson scene and throughout the versatile Andrew Lindfield and Ben Goodridge consistently command attention through their stage presence and top-quality voices and audibility.

Wisely the cast of just five almost parody the battle scenes with mock arrows, swordfights and detached arms and legs, but the seriousness of the history-making Battle of Agincourt is always kept in view.

The military and patriotic music, excellently played by Blackpool Brass Band before the show and in the interval, set the mood for Shakespeare’s celebration of English success, intelligently interpreted here by Illyria.