Closed 1h 45m
Henry V (The Public Theater)
East Village
72

Henry V (The Public Theater) NYC Reviews and Tickets

72%
(22 Reviews)
Positive
82%
Mixed
9%
Negative
9%
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.'

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Member Reviews (22)

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75
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. Read more

70
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.

Critic Reviews (11)

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 attack on nation-building either; the critique stays personal. For large stretches it isn't much of anything except fast and mildly funny."
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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 it may be churlish to complain that this production is too much fun...This 'Henry V' is one you can cheer for, but not one that commands your undying devotion."
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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 productions are best seen as a celebration of our culture and imagined through the eyes of someone who may not be able to afford, or be able to physically attend, live theatre."
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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 encourage the actors, when they are playing members of the French court, to adopt caricatured French accents...O'Hara's direction is certainly pacey, but it's hard to detect a coherent point of view."
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April 27th, 2018

"Acted with great energy and professionalism by a multiethnic group of talented young performers under the quirky but mostly effective direction of O'Hara...Williams does beautifully with her delivery of Shakespeare's great war orations...It's not all war stuff. The most crowd-pleasing depiction is that of Katherine...Kettig is very funny... Newcomers to the play, or to Shakespeare for that matter, ought to prepare a bit ahead of time, but even those familiar with both will find much to enjoy."
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April 29th, 2018

"Shakespeare purists may be put off by the...laid-back, loosey-goosey style...Henry V is ripe for this type of minimalist theatrical treatment...Williams has got fire in her eyes and ferocity in her heart. When you hear her Saint Crispin's Day speech, you'll be ready to get up and follow her into battle yourself...O'Hara and Williams also put a surprising twist on the famous fifth-act seduction of Princess Katharine...It's a brave choice, and one that works brilliantly."
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May 2nd, 2018

"Though helmed unevenly...this Mobile Unit production scores with Williams in the nominal role...O'Hara's new take...could benefit from a less comic tone and more natural acting. With the exception of Williams, and a few other performers in the cast, the acting becomes too zany...Yet O'Hara and Williams together have opened the door wider for female actors, not only for stepping into the role of 'Henry V', but for tackling other major parts in Shakespeare's plays."
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April 27th, 2018

"In the hands of Williams, Henry V is simply Henry, struggling with his position as king...Williams is remarkable. As is the rest of this ensemble. Ketting as Katherine is outrageously funny...War, the complexities of it, the greed of it, and this battle over land that Henry says is England's, and the loss of it, are all played out beautifully in this most exceptional of Shakespearean plays...Such a great way to bring your child, ten and older, to their first Shakespeare or their 20th."
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May 2nd, 2018

"As the assured and rash monarch, Zenzi Williams upends theatergoers’ expectations in director Robert O’Hara’s funny, shocking, slightly uneven 'Henry V'...O’Hara’s treatment of the French court is very heavy-handed...The actors muddle Shakespeare’s verses with overdramatic French accents...O’Hara’s interpretation of the ending is jarring, in a good way...A powerful ending and a timely commentary on what admired male rulers turn out to be, and for that alone, it’s worth seeing."
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April 28th, 2018

"This is Shakespeare the way Papp intended—raw, grassroots, and accessible—and it is thrilling...Mr. O’Hara milks an abridged version of Shakespeare’s text to emphasize and engorge every comedic moment possible...Mr. O’Hara undoubtedly takes the comedy too far, cheapening the serious themes at work in Shakespeare’s text, but he also provides a way in for audiences who aren’t as familiar with Elizabethan parlance."
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Z
April 30th, 2018

"To put it bluntly, there’s not just one element that makes this particular production a monumental one. In fact, there are a multitude of reasons...King Henry V, is played here by a woman (Zenzi Williams) and it works extremely well...Somehow, through the magic of theater, everyone was enthralled with the entire production, even if they didn’t quite understand what was going on every single moment...When a production is done this well, the insight and inspiration provided is limitless."
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