he goes to conquer their whole country with but a small portion of his army (you can never be too careful with those Scotsmen).
King Henry (Alistair Nunn) seemed to warm up as the daylight faded and the dramatic intensity of the play grew. In the second half I enjoyed his rousing and witty speeches. By the end of the play (7.30-10.45pm including a 20 minute interval) he was speaking the lines as if they were coming not just from his mouth, but also from his mind.
Many of the performances could benefit from a greater conviction in the power of the words they speak (projection often being an issue wuth outdoor shows). There was an occasional stumble of a line here or there, some of which were distracting and some of which were deftly incorporated into character. A few characters incorporated accents which, to my ears, sounded absurd and buried the lines (if only there were a breathalyzer test for accents as well as inebriation - above 0.08% and you can't drive it on stage!).
Although a few performances suffered from overenthusiasm, the delivery of Pistol (Tim Younger)raced across the border bounding the lands of reasonable embellishment. He often seemed to channel a hyper version of Ali G, with accompanying gangster hand gestures and air drawings of every noun uttered. I feel certain that a hefty trimming of the sails could result in a very enjoyable performance by Mr. Younger. By contrast, in the first scene that Pistol appears, we also meet the drunken old soldier, Bardolph (Brian Drowley), who comes and goes from the stage with subtle humour and authenticity. I pray for his health and sobriety that he was in fact acting. I also enjoyed the well-tempered comedy of the constable of France (Phillip Cotterill), who knew how to use his countenance as well as his tongue to deliver the lines.
The performance could stand to have more animation of the text in the opening scenes when the plot is launched, as it was in the setup that I particularly felt the cast acting their hardest to appear interested in what they were saying. The added garnish of humour seems to be a wink at the audience to let us know that the company also realizes this is boring stuff. This could be a missed opportunity. The plot isn't so complicated and the exposition not so convoluted or lengthy that a little bit more interest from the actors themselves - and possibly more movement on stage or gestural illumination - could lead to a stronger opening to the action of the play. Overall though, it is wonderful how much comedy greases the wheels of this history.