“I’ll tickle your catastrophe”
I was mildly disappointed by the second instalment of The Hollow Crown, Henry IV Part I and so it was pretty much a given that I’d feel more or less the same about Henry IV Part II and so it came to pass. In some ways, little changed: Walters and Russell Beale continued to be themselves, Heffernan continued to be neglected as a simple serving boy, the women continued to get a raw deal of it only this time Niamh Cusack got in on the action with a mere handful of lines as Lady Northumberland (and admittedly Maxine Peake rightly got a bit more screentime as Doll Tearsheet), Hiddleston and Irons continued to be epically good and it all felt a bit too theatrical for my liking.
I did like that we got more Dominc Rowan in this one, though his hair still caused me consternation, Iain Glen and Pip Carter were great additions to the cast as Warwick and Gower respectively – Glen was particularly sonorous when speaking – and everyone has got to love a scene that looks like it could have been set in a gay sauna 😉 And though they lacked a certain something, the rural scenes with David Bamber and Tim McMullan as Shallow and Silence, were largely well-played.
Alun Armstrong shone as Northumberland on receiving the news of his death in one of the few scenes that really sparked with emotion, Hiddleston really whetted the appetite for Henry V with another performance of controlled emotion and though I mostly did not care for this Falstaff, Russell Beale invested his final rejection scene with much gravitas, finally disappearing into the role but of course it was too little too late for me. So onwards we go and hopefully Thea Sharrock’s take on Henry V might be more to my tastes.