William Shakespeare; dir: Heather Burns.
In Henry VIII, the Tudor Court is locked in a power struggle between its nobles and the Machiavellian Cardinal Wolsey, the King's first minister and the most conspicuous symbol of Catholic power in the land. Wolsey's ambition knows no bounds and when his chief ally, Queen Katherine, interferes in the King's romance with Ann Boleyn, he brings gigantic ruin upon himself, the Queen and centuries of English obedience to Rome. Famous in its own day as Shakespeare's most sumptuous and spectacular play, Henry VIII is a gorÂgeous pageant of masques and royal ceremony; a blaze of fireworks, cannonfire, red satin and cloth-of-gold. But within the passages of grandeur works the mind of the mature Shakespeare: psychological and political insight, language of great depth and power and, in the figures of Wolsey and Katherine, two of his most vivid and memorable characters.