Theater Review: “Henry V” @ The Folger

All of Shakespeare’s plays are timeless, but Henry V endures better than most others. The play’s big themes – war, nationalism, duty, and sacrifice – will always remain relevant. Past productions of Henry V served as prism for the time they were produced: Lawrence Olivier’s 1944 production emphasized heroics when England needed some, and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1964 production reflected unease as the country looked toward Vietnam. Now that we’ve inaugurated Barack Obama a second time, the Folger Theater’s production of Henry V arrives at a moment when leadership and character are sharply in focus. Between its grand theatrics and moments of comedy, director Robert Richmond’s vision is darkly cerebral.

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