Catch this while you can; it's hilarious. Comedy has always been Creation's forte, and this sparklingly silly production really makes the history come alive. I was amazed to find that there's so much comedy in the actual text of a history play: Creation dig it out, polish it up and force it to pull its weight. Shades of Monty Python and 'Allo 'Allo stalk this three-man show, and this means we can relate to the story as the Elizabethan audience would have related to the memes drawn upon by their own actors.
The result provides a great foil to the serious bits, which are thus all the more moving. I shall remember for a long time standing in a crowd being harangued in the blue half-light by the impassioned King from the top of the Castle Mound. On the other hand, I shall never look at leeks in the same way again.
It is a promenade production and I found the audience-herding between scenes smooth and well-managed. Pace Nedals, below, I thought the various settings worked really well to establish a geographical reality - territories are alloted as in a children's game, and this really helps avoid the confusions engendered by three actors playing at least four speaking characters each (and two armies). It is something to consider, however, if you are movement-impaired or have trouble standing for the duration of a scene. There are some real chairs at each location as well as rugs, steps etc for the hoi polloi.
It's a very impressionistic production - effects are created with lighting, charisma and a handful of props. But the props are as carefully and thoughtfully created as a musician's box of tricks, and the physical theatre is very skilled. The brief scene of shipping to France, for example, blitzed through my disbelief without any effort on my part. The three actors (Morgan Philpott, Christopher York and Rhys King) are a great team. Rhys King in particular displays the rather thrilling skill of a chameleon as he flips from role to role.
It's £22-£27, which is on the steep side for an evening's entertainment this far from London, but it is very, very much worth seeing: take advantage of however many warm nights we have left before the 14th of September and make sure you don't miss it.
You can in fact see all the Henry History plays in one week - the Henry VI trilogy is being presented by the Globe on Tour at the Playhouse 10th - 14th Sept.