Already closed | 1h 45m | East Village

Henry V (The Public Theater)

From 22 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Funny

About the show

The Mobile Unit brings a warring King and his band of brothers to the Public Theater and communities all across New York, with this stripped-down production of William Shakespeare's 'Henry V.' More…

Insulted by the regent of France, Britain’s King Henry V decides to wage war and claim the throne across the Channel. But Henry’s charm only distracts the soldiers for so long before the dire stakes of their task call into question the King’s true motives and direction. Resonating across the centuries—wherever there may be a kingdom for a stage, and royalty to act—Shakespeare’s drama about invasion, ego, and leadership, delves into history’s thorniest questions: What makes a person worthy of wearing the crown, and what do they owe the people they lead?

Member Reviews (22)


Great acting, Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Funny
Avg Score

Ambitious, Clever, Edgy, Intense, Well-cut

See it if you want a fast-paced, trimmed HV, w/impressive Zenzi Wms as Henry. Lots of directorial flourishes. Humor. Staged in the round. Spare.

Don't see it if you want to get every word. Heavy French accents (ugh) & too much shouting (it echoes). New approach to wooing scene undermines WS's intent.

Also I love the mobile unit works...and there was much to enjoy and admire ... Read more Read less

Confusing, Ambitious, Great acting, Overrated

See it if If you like a different spin to this play, it was well directed, well acted.

Don't see it if confusing at times, a different rendition to the traditional Henry V.

Ambitious, Intense, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

See it if O'Hara undercuts his white hot 'masculine' staging using non-gender casting & sexual politics Volitile & edgy with audience as battlefield

Don't see it if Phenomenal performance by Zenzi Williams as Henry despite choppy rhythms French court as pack of fops lands flat Duel casting confusion

Ambitious, Disappointing, Excruciating, Intense, Slow

See it if You love all things Shakespeare no matter what.

Don't see it if You want to see some action instead of long drawn out speeches and a rude take on the French with no redeeming quality.

Excruciating, The war is missing, Diluted, O’hara & this script don’t bring out the best in each other

See it if you’ll settle. Show’s fine for hearing the famous lines aloud but doesn’t get across why this play is loved (& unclear if it’s intentional).

Don't see it if you want hardcore theater, for grand speech to logically correspond to grand events; miss the ingenuity of Mobile Unit’s Twelfth Night.

Also They say it’s war but it just never really feels like it. Without high... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Dizzying, Quirky

See it if you enjoy Shakespeare at it's minimalistic bottom. Great casting choices, multiple roles for all. short and sweet

Don't see it if you are a traditionalist and don't welcome unique casting choices and interpretation


See it if Great acting of a diverse cast, but hard to follow loose plot

Don't see it if Fake accents + ye olde English + acoustic issues make it hard to hear lines. I understood more plot from the acting than the dialogue.

Also Free ticket from online lottery.

Great acting, Hilarious, Indulgent, Entertaining

See it if You like seeing new takes on Shakespeare that are fun and different.

Don't see it if You're a purist. You get annoyed with over-acting.

Entertaining, Swift

See it if You would like a upbeat, speedy Henry, with appealing young actors and free tickets.

Don't see it if You don't want to wait a long time on line for those free tickets. There are some issues understanding the text at times.

Absorbing, Funny, Quirky, Clever, Great acting

See it if You enjoy Shakespeare. Want to see a rather comical rendering of Henry V.

Don't see it if Are apt to dislike more comical interpretations of Shakespeare's works.

Also This is about as accessible as a Shakespeare drama can get. Which is n... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting, Refreshing, Immersive

See it if You like diverse casts that cross gender lines. The house lights are on so part of the show is watching the audience reaction to the actors.

Don't see it if You prefer large, epic productions of Shakespeare - this is small and intimate. This is abridged so it's much shorter than the original.

Clever, Intelligent, Refreshing, Ambitious

See it if If you like Papp/Public Theater interpretations of Shakespeare in an intimate setting.

Don't see it if If you insist on a traditional interpretation. The French accents are annoying and poor choice in an otherwise interesting show.

Absorbing, Funny, Concise, Entertaining, Fresh

See it if you like watching ensemble theatre where the actors interact with the audience, make bold choices and commit with 100% of their being.

Don't see it if you'll miss the war aspects of the play, characters such as Pistol and Fluellen or don't want to be yelled at by Henry for almost two hours.

Also I absolutely loved the creative and playful direction of this piece. T... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Funny, Quirky, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if Pros: diverse cast, new interpretation w/ rendered text, farce

Don't see it if Cons: over-acting, new interpretation...don’t think it’s better than the original, don’t like the overly comical tone

Great acting, Simplistic, Intense

See it if you want to see a no-frills take on Henry V with some wonderful acting and clever humor

Don't see it if you're a traditionalist or can't follow the language

Disappointing, Excruciating, Indulgent, Slow, Poor direction

See it if You want to support a friend of yours who is in it.

Don't see it if You want to see Shakespeare's story done well.

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You like Shakespeare...but mostly if you don't!

Don't see it if No reason not to see it! Gooooo

Relevant, Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You enjoy a clever, spirited production .

Don't see it if You are expecting a traditinal version of Henry V .

For a previous production
Ambitious, Intelligent, Thrilling, Martial, Fast

See it if you like productions that breathe new life into Shakespeare with provocative takes on well-known material & taut, propulsive staging.

Don't see it if you find the Boars Head Tavern crew or the “ethnic” Welsh/Scotch/Irish characters too much fun to part with: they’ve all been cut.

Also Of the many productions of Henry V I've seen over the years this is th... Read more Read less

For a previous production
Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky, Excruciating, Banal

See it if You want to see a daring modern urban playwright take on a directorial challenge that is he not quite up to.

Don't see it if You dislike incessant screaming, the strangest seduction scene in history, and direction that is lost and clueless.

Also The director muddled through the battle scenes -- the famous pep talks... Read more Read less

For a previous production
Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Ambitious, Edgy

See it if You want to see Shakespeare perfomed in a very accessible production

Don't see it if You do not want your Shakespeare interpreted very differently from how it was written

For a previous production
Absorbing, Great acting, Clever, Thought-provoking

See it if You like free Shakespeare. The Public always does a great job. I especially enjoy the way they pull humor out of scenes.

Don't see it if Henry is played by a female ... although a gender neutral character. This may bother some. Huge chunks have been cut from the play ...

April 27th, 2018
"O'Hara's brisk production gets the story told, from Harfleur to Agincourt to an uneasy peace. But with the pointed exception of this final scene, it doesn't always seem to know which story it's telling. This version isn't an unthinking endorsement of rah-rah patriotism, but it's not really an at...
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April 27th, 2018
"Casting a woman of color as Henry brings new layers to this already morally ambivalent drama, and Williams is fabulous...O'Hara plays up the text's humor almost to the point of parody; the French get the worst of it, as the cast goes full throttle into fey Gallic stereotype...Shows are free, so ...
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April 30th, 2018
"Zenzi Williams charges into the title role with brio...The French King and his countrymen are portrayed with exaggerated snooty attitudes bringing some cartoonish humor into the proceedings, but the versatile ensemble is better showcased sharing the role of the commenting chorus...Mobile Unit pr...
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May 1st, 2018
"Williams, in the title role, makes quite clear that she is an actress gifted with a powerful presence and a well-honed classical technique...The rest of the cast is equally adept in classical theatre, but they aren't always well served by O'Hara's direction. His biggest error has been to encoura...
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