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Review Roundup: HENRY VIII Opens at Shakespeare's Globe

Adam Gillen plays King Henry VIII, returning to the Globe stage following his acclaimed performance of Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet in 2021.

Henry VIII | Globe

Shakespeare's Globe is presenting Henry VIII running through 21 October, directed by Amy Hodge. Adam Gillen plays King Henry VIII, returning to the Globe stage following his acclaimed performance of Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet in 2021.

One of Shakespeare's final plays, and co-written by John Fletcher, this rarely performed play will be seen in a new light at the Globe this summer. Hannah Khalil, the Globe's 2022 Resident Writer has become Shakespeare and Fletcher's third collaborator, providing a female perspective to this exploration of love, lineage, and power.

Amy Hodge returns to the Globe after directing Women Beware Women in 2020. She was Associate Director at Headlong (2015-18), and her other directing credits include Mr Gum and The Dancing Bear at The National Theatre. Henry VIII is designed by Georgia Lowe with Aline David as Movement Director and music by Tom Deering (Co-Composer, Orchestrator & Arranger) and Maimuna Memon (Co-Composer, Songwriter & Lyricist).

See what the critics are saying...

Paige Cochrane, BroadwayWorld: Hodge and Khalil's chosen themes of redemption, rage, and misogyny are impeccably clear and cast a fresh light on our consumption of historical suffering. This seriousness is interjected with light-hearted comedy and feels completely consumable and appropriate for the Globe's audience. It would have been easy to indulge in the performativity of feminism, but this production communicates succinctly and leaves no room for abusers to escape without being scorned.

Matt Wolf, London Theatre: It's worth remembering that this is the very play that in 1613 suffered an accident with a cannon that led to the Globe burning down. That grievous precedent was likely ignored by a festive-seeming audience rightly cheering the feminist close to a staging whose polemical shifts would surely Raise the Roof - if, that is, this ever-adaptable playhouse still had a roof to raise.

Nick Curtis: Evening Standard: Henry's obsession with primogeniture is succinctly expressed (trust me on this) in a scene using blue and pink balloons. Bland supporting characters pluck fine speeches out of the bones of the original text. There's enough going on here to please nerds and Shakespeare completists, but I can't honestly recommend it to anyone else.

Photo credit: Marc Brenner

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