One of the by-products of this year’s Cultural Olympiad and the Summer Of Shakespeare was the BBC’s ambitious plan to bring the Bard’s Henriad tetralogy (sorry, it’s Shakespeare and therefore long words are compulsory) to the screen. Under the title The Hollow Crown we get Richard II, Henry IV Part I, Henry IV Part 2 and Henry V, which cover one period of British history from the rise of Henry IV and the usurpation (another good long word there) of Richard II, through the reign of Henry’s son, Henry V.
While the three Henrys tell one interlinked story with many recurring characters, Richard II is a bit of a play on its own, even though it deals with some of the same people. It’s also probably the least known of the plays, often regarded as one of Shakespeare’s more difficult texts, but as Rupert Goold’s two-hour take on the tale proves, it’s also one of the richest. [Read more…]