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Bell Shakespeare's 'Henry 4'

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by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
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A Father Rejected, A Son Corrupted, A Nation Rocked
King Henry IV risked everything for the crown. But his son didn't seem to share the same ambition. Instead, he'd rather hang around with petty criminals and lowlife drunkards. But when the King's former supporters stage a rebellion against him, we're drawn into a sprawling tale of adventure, ambition and political intrigue.

Henry 4
Matthew Moore (left) as Prince Hal and John Bell as Falstaff in John Bell's adaptation "Henry 4"

Bell Shakespeare kicks off 2013 with an exciting new production of Henry 4, directed by and starring Co-Artistic Director John Bell making his debut as Falstaff.

Set in the present day and inspired by the 2011 London Riots, this new production of Henry 4, presents a fresh Australian perspective on English history and culture, with its monarchy, class system and civil unrest.

This is John Bell's adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV Parts One and Two, meshed into one play, Henry 4. The story has two main plots that intertwine; the first follows the strained relationship between a rebellious son and autocratic, domineering father, the second concerns the revolt being plotted against King Henry, by a dissatisfied power bloc.

Henry Bolingbroke has fought to usurp the throne of his cousin Richard II, but when he assumes the title of King Henry IV, his teenage son Prince Hal, shows a particular disregard for his new-found status. He prefers to spend his time in pubs with petty criminals and prostitutes, and with an old reprobate named Falstaff.

It is only when a rebellion is staged against the new king that the teenage rebel, Prince Hal, rallies to his father's side and transforms himself into the charismatic hero Henry V.

Henry 4
John and Matthew - Boon Companion and Prince

Co-artistic director John Bell directs this epic tale as well as fulfilling a lifelong ambition of playing Shakespeare's greatest comic role, Falstaff.

The Lord of Misrule, the life of the party, the corrupter of youth, Falstaff has a gargantuan capacity for enjoying life and a rather pathetic naiveté. His is a nature without malice. He charms us with his lively wit, his mighty intelligence and healthy scepticism. It's a role I'm looking forward to finally tackling," said John.

Assisting him in directing the play is Damien Ryan, a familiar face at Bell Shakespeare, as well as being Artistic Director of his own Company, Sport for Jove.

John will be joined by 13 of Australia's finest actors in bringing to life this populous story of kings and beggars, heroes and cowards, lovers and clowns. David Whitney, well-known across musical and classic theatre, will play King Henry IV and Matthew Moore, an Australian favourite across theatre, stage and film, will play Prince Hal.

Henry 4 runs from Friday 5th to Saturday 13th April, 2013 at the State Theatre Centre in William St., Perth. Tickets may be obtained from the State Theatre Centre on 6212 9200 or online at Tickatek.

Tickets cost between $25 and $75 - discounts available for Schools and groups.
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Why? John Bell's adaptation of Henry IV (part 1 and part 2)
When: 7:30pm and 1:00pm (Matinees)
Phone: 6212 9200
Where: State Theatre Centre of WA, 182 William Street, Perth
Cost: Between $25 to $75 (Interval wine and cheese additional $15)
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