Review of Shakespeare in the Park’s Harry the King: The Famous Victories of Henry V

Harry The King Promotional Image (Harry) Aris Tyros (Harry). Credit: Alan Dean Photography Harry The King Promotional Image (Harry) Aris Tyros (Harry). Credit: Alan Dean Photography

To the roars of the metropolis, France and England raise their swords in the parks of Montreal

For 25 years now, Repercussion Theatre and Shakespeare in The Park bring people together in the parks of Montreal for the purpose of delivering professional performance of classic literature to all regardless of their income, culture, language, age or education. On the 100th-year anniversary of the First World War and the six-hundredth anniversary of the battle of Agincourt, Shakespeare in The Park and Paul Hopkins, the artistic director of Repercussion Theatre, presents an adaptation of Shakespeare’s story of England’s King Henry V.

Harry The King Promotional Image (Harry and Falstaff) Aris Tyros (Harry) and Joel Miller (Falstaff). Credit: Alan Dean Photography

Harry The King Promotional Image (Harry and Falstaff)
Aris Tyros (Harry) and Joel Miller (Falstaff). Credit: Alan Dean Photography

This adaptation combines extracts from 4 Shakespeare’s plays: Richard II, Henry IV part 1, Henry IV part 2 and Henry V. The process of combining four into one play of 90 minutes to make it suitable for Shakespeare in the Park began 7 years ago. Now it is finally available to anyone willing to find their way to a show that runs through July (see HERE for details). All of Shakespeare in the Park plays are pwyc, so all you need to bring along is a chair or blanket and a good mood.

“There will even be sword fights,” said Paul Hopkins in the interview for CBC All in a Weekend. He was not exaggerating! On the night of the 8th, despite unfavorable weather conditions, the actors continued their extraordinary performance, and the audience sat under their umbrellas, mesmerized by Harry the King and his loyal crew. Although the weather did not stop the crew from performing despite heavy rain, the director had to let everyone know it was getting too dangerous for the crew to continue their performance.

This play has it all – sword fights, drama, comedy and much more. The cast is versatile with actors from across Canada with a varied range of experience. Joel Miller, an actor, director and dramaturge for almost 55 years is delighting the audience with his appearance as Falstaff in this adaptation.

“It is an amazing experience to view a play which is hundreds of years old accompanied by the roars of the metropolis,” said mayor of the city of Westmount Peter Trent at the opening ceremony of Harry, the King, where he appeared on the stage wearing a king’s cape.

Harry The King Promotional Image (Harry and Falstaff) Aris Tyros (Harry) and Joel Miller (Falstaff). Credit: Alan Dean Photography

Harry The King Promotional Image (Harry and Falstaff)
Aris Tyros (Harry) and Joel Miller (Falstaff). Credit: Alan Dean Photography

Shakespeare in the Park is celebrating its 25th anniversary which also means that the stage, the shows are performed on has seen an incredible number of faces and performances and needs a replacement. The crew launched an IndiGoGo campaign which so far helped raise over $2,000. However, this is still far from what is required to rebuild the stage. #Morethanastage is the name of the campaign, and you can show your support to the cultural development of our city by spreading the word and/or donating to the campaign here.

To conclude, I would like to add that if you have never seen a Shakespeare in the Park performance, I would strongly suggest you go see the play. The experience of being under open air while watching the show transports you back in time, and is one of the best ways to spend a hot summer evening than with the drama, comedy and action of Shakespeare.

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