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The Arts Intel Report

A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler
A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler

Player Kings: Shakespeare's Henry IV Parts 1 & 2

Ian McKellen stars in Robert Icke’s Player Kings.

Until June 22
85-88 St Martin's Ln, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4AP, UK

How much can Shakespeare’s plays be stretched before losing their connection to Shakespeare? Robert Icke is testing the boundaries. The British writer and director has combined the two Henry IV history plays into one show, described by The Guardian as a “giant, vivid canvas of early 15th century lives, high and (very) low.” Prince Hal must say goodbye to his indolent life among less than royal friends in the taverns of Eastcheap, and that includes the infamous John Falstaff, played by Ian McKellen, now 84. Apart from dressing his actors in modern clothes, Icke stays simple and doesn’t let the production get too contemporary. —Jeanne Malle

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