Henry V

Henry V

Ludlow Brewery
February 2015

Our first Shakespeare history was a tremendous success with five out of seven nights sold out. We really came to appreciate the qualities of Ludlow Brewery as a venue, how it looked and felt with the professional sound and lighting and clarity of the acoustics. The modern military style provided a compelling context and we fought like real soldiers in the combat scenes - with sticks!

“Super, with fresh original ideas and staging and a great company feel”
Audience member Chris Barltrop

“Messrs Sayers and Bolton are to be congratulated on their hard work in producing an extremely polished, thought-provoking and entirely enjoyable production”
Prue Britten in the Ludlow Ledger

See full reviews below.


Henry V
David Scotswood
Giles Emerson
Simon Bolton
Paul Sayers
Jayne Hall
Paul Sayers
Johnny Ostle
Ian Seddon
Peter Gillham
Peter Hayter
Charmian Ingham
King of France
Giles Emerson
Johnny Ostle
Frances-Clare Lothian
Morgan Rees-Davies
Governor of Harfleur
Jayne Hall
Esmerelda Hamblin
Rai Fisher
Peter Gillham
Charmian Ingham
Giles Emerson
Darren Cadet
Ian Seddon
Jayne Hall
Queen of France
Frances-Clare Lothian
Charmian Ingham
Simon Bolton
Producer/ Assistant director
Paul Sayers

Review 1

“Rooftop Theatre is, without doubt, a welcome addition to the cultural life of Ludlow. Following last year's most successful production of The Comedy of Errors, this year's offering, Henry V did not disappoint.

“This wooden O”, provided once again by the welcoming Ludlow Brewery, was skilfully used. The minimum of scenery and props – a camouflage net, a bath, a beer cask and broomsticks for the swords – created a well-paced and visually satisfying piece. Judicious pruning of the script allowed the production to move forward without damaging the overall integrity of and structure of the play.

With a cast consisting of professional and amateur actors, there will inevitably be variations in the proficiency of each participant.

Morgan Rees-Davies's Chorus was imposing; his physical presence, combined with his ability to give accurate and comprehensible voice to the lines, was masterful. The Chorus introduction to the night scene evoked both the gentleness and the tensions of the eve of battle.

Perhaps the best interpreter of Shakespeare's lines was Giles Emerson – notably as Erpingham. Every syllable was crystal clear and without over-stressing any aspect, his total understanding of pace and commitment was remarkable.

In the unsympathetic role of Montjoy, Paul Sayers excelled, making his character something of a viper yet almost likeable – a man proudly doing his job and, finally, shamefully, admitting defeat.

As Henry V, David Scotswood was both energetic and thoughtful, although at times clarity was sacrificed for vocal forcefulness. It seemed that there was more of the childish, rumbustious, carousing Prince Hal of Henry IV, than of the mature King Henry, able to rouse his army and beat the French.

The confirmation and discussion of the death of Falstaff is arguably the gentlest (and briefest) scene in the play. Peter Hayter (Pistol) and Charmian Ingham (Hostess) led the excellent ensemble playing. This was a scene to treasure, with real emotion, tinged with humour and sadness, delivered by accomplished players; these were the lower orders remembering and regretting the passing of a friend. This contrasts with the numbering of the English dead after Agincourt. The dead were four members of the upper echelons but “none else of name” – a mere twenty five “other men”. There is nowhere any expression of regret or sympathy for the widows, orphans or friends of the dead, they are just “a little loss”, today it would be called collateral damage.

Messrs Sayers and Bolton are to be congratulated on their hard work in producing an extremely polished, thought-provoking, and entirely enjoyable production.”

Prue Britten, Ludlow Ledger

Review 2

“Rooftop Theatre's production of Henry V is worthy of comparison with some of the top professional Shakespearean companies and while the cast is small and many members carry dual or even triple roles, they carry it off with superb professionalism and panache!

Staged innovatively at Ludlow Brewery, the performance is in the round with no actor more than a metre away from the audience - and they carry that off, too, with the same professionalism. David Scotswood's Henry is utterly believable, moving at times and he grows into his regality as the events unfold. His St Crispin's Day speech is enough to inspire the audience to join him on the battlefield of Agincourt and there are probably a good few women in the audience who melt when he woos his Katharine!

Henry is given strong and loving support by Simon Bolton as Exeter and the decline in the fortunes of his French adversaries are portrayed with sensitivity - from arrogance to humility - so beautifully expressed in Montjoy, played by Paul Sayers, when he acknowledges ‘The day is yours’.

The comedy element provided by Bardolph, Pistol, Nym and the Hostess fits seamlessly within the drama as the inevitability of war with France evolves and the intricate plot is revealed through the Chorus - not just one voice throughout the play but the role of storyteller is assumed by many voices of the cast.

It is a production which has credibility and magic woven through it, given by a local company full of extraordinary talent. Those of us who have been caught up in the drama at the Brewery know how lucky we are to have this on our doorstep. More and more please!”

Diane Lyle – Friends of Ludlow Arts


See our Facebook page for Henry V dress rehearsal pictures.

Dress rehearsals

Next Production

The Memory Garden

A tender and raucous trip back into Ludlow's recent past.

In the Secret Garden behind the Castle Bookshop, 5 Castle Street, Ludlow, SY8 1AS

Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July at 7.00pm.

Tickets £10 — reserve them by calling at the bookshop, phoning them on 01584 872562, or emailing castlebookshop@btconnect.com

The Memory Garden
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