Henry VI (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

Çerkeş Produced in two parts

Guelph Thursday 12th July – Sunday 22nd July 2007 (7 performances of each part)

The Guildhall 

Charles Hutchinson in the The Press wrote:

The three Henry VI plays are as full of political machinations as Alastair Campbell’s diaries, but where the King of Spin’s memoirs span ten years, Shakespeare’s early works cram in more than 50 with a cast of hundreds (or 27 in this York community production).

Director Mark France and Julia Atkinson’s adaptation has edited three plays into two, the first part entitled The Occupation, the second, Civil War. These three-hour epics run in consecutive performances that take Jonathan Bedford’s Henry VI from twitchy boyhood to ever weaker, Bible-clutching man-child and Andy Curry’s Crooked Back Richard from idealist to arch cynic, plotting his winter of discontent.

The Guildhall setting – a new location for YSP – is a constant reminder of York’s past, chiming with the city’s presence in the plays (or at least its walls to facilitate the beheaded Duke of York looking down on York). “Grumblin York” (Ged Murray, the pick of the older generation of actors) is omnipresent and so too is the white rose.

Yet France’s masterstroke is to give the plays a 21st century setting with echoes of the Iraq conflict and materialistic power games.

The soldiers of France and England wear modern combat uniform; the Duke of York favours pinstripes; Cecily Boys’ Margaret flicks her chic bob on a catwalk of French haute couture.

Henry V’s gravestone is replaced by a News 24 TV screen with the latest headlines on weddings and beheadings; scaffolding and corrugated iron dominate Cath Doman’s stage, impermanence amid the Guildhall stone and pillars. Victoria Bernath’s Joan la Pucelle is Tank Girl with a French-Canadian accent and boots hotter than her exit at the stake.

Guns and searchlights, speeding police sirens and the whir of helicopters emphasise the modernity, although combat is conducted with swords, always accompanied by Kingsley Ash’s blood-stirring metallic music.

The actors take time to adjust to the Guildhall’s acoustic, but France uses the full room most effectively with entrances from side and rear to boost urgency, fear and surprise.

Don’t be misled into thinking all this flashy theatre of war is a substitute for real drama in the manner of a Starlight Express. Granted, Shakespeare’s cynical writing is not his most memorable, but France conjures a resonant theatrical event with political punch.

In Andy Curry, meanwhile, he has found a hot new talent for the York stage.

See also: The British Theatre Guide review by Derrol Palmer.


Cast – Part 1

King Henry the Sixth Jonathan Bedford
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, Lord Protector Robin Sanger
Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester Richard Easterbrook
Duke of Exeter Raymond Baggeley
William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk Dermot Hill
Edmund, Duke of Somerset Samuel Valentine
Basset, follower of Somerset Andy Curry
Duke of Buckingham Jamie Searle
Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester Margaret Hillier
Servant to Gloucester Sally Mitcham
Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York Ged Murray
Earl of Salisbury Jeremy Muldowney
Earl of Warwick, Salisbury’s son Keir Brown
Vernon, follower of York Jamie Searle
Lord Talbot Bill Laughey
John, Talbot’s son Emily Graham
Sir William Lucy Matthew Pattison
English soldiers Mark Blythe, Andy Curry
1st Messenger Bex Calpin
2nd Messenger Tanya Pizl
Charles, Dauphin of France Ben Sawyer
Reignier, Duke of Anjou and Maine Brian Sharp
Margaret, Reignier’s daughter Cecily Boys
Duke of Alencon Matt Simpson
Joan la Pucelle Victoria Bernath
Duke of Burgundy Dominic McAndrew
Countess of Auvergne Sally Mitcham
French Messenger Jane Collis
French Captain Sally Mitcham
French soldiers Tim Pollard, Toby Gordon
Woodville, Lieutenant of the Tower of London Jamie Searle
Warder of the Tower Ged Murray
Lawyer of the Temple Tanya Pizl
Legate from the Pope to Winchester Mark Blythe
Ambassador to the English Court Sally Mitcham
Hume Bex Calpin
Petitioner Victoria Bernath
Margery Jourdain, a witch Tanya Pizl
Bolingbroke, a wizard Raymond Baggeley
Thomas Horner, armourer Ben Sawyer
Peter Thump, his apprentice Matthew Pattison
Sir John Stanley Andy Curry
Sheriff of London Matt Simpson

Cast – Part 2

Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York Ged Murray
Edward, York’s son and later Edward IV Bill Laughey
George, York’s son and later Duke of Clarence Matt Simpson
Richard, York’s son and later, Duke of Gloucester Andy Curry
Earl of Rutland, York’s son Jack Graham
Earl of Salisbury Jeremy Muldowney
Earl of Warwick, Salisbury’s son Keir Brown
Marquess of Montague, brother of Warwick Brian Sharp
4th Duke of Somerset, later a supporter of Lancaster Toby Gordon
Lady Grey, later Queen Elizabeth Emily Graham
Lord Rivers, brother of Lady Grey Mark Blythe
Lord Hastings Ben Sawyer
Son, who has killed his father Emily Graham
Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, future Henry VII Tanya Pizl
Messenger to York Bex Calpin
1st Watch Jamie Searle
2nd Watch Tim Pollard
King Henry the Sixth Jonathan Bedford
Queen Margaret Cecily Boys
Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester Richard Easterbrook
William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk Dermot Hill
Edmund, 2nd Duke of Somerset Samuel Valentine
Vaux Mark Blythe
Sir Humphrey Stafford Bill Laughey
Duke of Buckingham Jamie Searle
Lord Saye Richard Easterbrook
Old Clifford Robin Sanger
Young Clifford Ben Sawyer
Earl of Oxford Matthew Pattison
Prince Edward, son of Henry VI Dominic McAndrew
Father, who has killed his son Samuel Valentine
1st Messenger Jane Collis
2nd Messenger Tanya Pizl
Huntsman Sally Mitcham
King Louis XI Dermot Hill
Lady Bona, sister-in-law to King Louis Sophie Storr
Jack Cade Brian Sharp
George Matthew Pattison
Nick Toby Gordon
Dick the Butcher Matt Simpson
Smith the Weaver Bex Calpin
Michael ` Tim Pollard
1st Murderer Tim Pollard
2nd Murderer Ben Sawyer
Nurse Jane Collis
Emmanuel, Clerk of Chatham Mark Blythe
Alexander Iden Dermot Hill
1st Keeper Toby Gordon
2nd Keeper Mark Blythe

Production Team

Director Mark France
Script adapted by Julia Atkinson, Mark France
Designer and Company Stage Manager Cath Doman
Design Assistant and ASM Mattie Hirst
Costume Zoë Groves
Music and Sound Design Kingsley Ash
Fight Choreography Simon Buckley, Mark France
Video Projections Christopher Ratcliff
Lighting Design Barry Mills
Assisted by Dominic Gallagher
Assistant Stage Managers Rachel Hollingworth, Paul Shepherd
Set Construction Simon C Jarvis, Tim Pollard,
Keir Brown, Jamie Searle
Rehearsal Prompt Julia Atkinson
Publicity Duncan Clarke, Ali Borthwick,
Sam Freeman
Liaison for YSP Executive Raymond Baggaley