Henry V is about to start and the Pop Up Globe is filled with the young, the old and the groundlings, with the elite sitting in the upper Earl of Windsor seats. The Chorus played by Michael Mahony in the guise of a commercial cleaner is on stage doing exactly that, cleaning. He reads the crowd well and captures the atmosphere which is dramatic with a small hint of humour.
Henry V is a play that invites us to witness history during the hundred year war when Henry V decides to make a claim on ruling France. Chris Huntly – Turner plays the titular role with passion and resilience. His monologues carry weight that demand attention and his interaction with Joe Dekkers-Reihana as Princess Katherine is priceless.
A long season playing the same role could be tiring for the actors and it was pleasing to see the cast of Henry V never looked bored or tired performing their lines. They all seemed to find something new about their characters especially in the performances by Steven Jackson as Dauphin and our own Rawiri Paratene as Exeter.
Dr. Gregory, the play’s director, demonstrates a superb understanding of Shakespeare as he adds contemporary touches for the new Shakespearean goers while still meeting the standards of the religious Shakespeare fans. His choreography of the bloody battles was evenly plated with humour. The actors were allowed to have fun with their roles and the use of music and song kept the audience involved.
The Pop Up Globe theatre has entered its second year. Henry V hit the right tone of male heroics, history, humour and drama and one knows the Pop Up Globe theatre will be back again next year. The theatre has its own unique style and next year we will see a stylistic production of more histories, tragedies and comedies. Whether tragedy, history or comedy the Pop Up Globe has done its job and brought Shakespeare alive.