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THE LIST: Generating real Bardic excitement; Henry VI - The War of the Roses The Dream Factory, Warwick.

Byline: Terry Grimley

Pacey, intelligent, enthralling and consistently well-acted, this impressive Shakespeare project from the young professional company Generator is well worth your time.

Generator has grown out of youth company Playbox, bringing back several former members after professional training. For example, I remember seeing Paul Critoph, who plays Richard Plantaganet, in a previous Playbox show: what outstanding vocal delivery he displays here.

In fact, this show is full of interesting young actors who bring a real sense of politics to their characters as they jockey for advantage under the weak Henry VI (a sympathetic performance by Simon Pollard).

Forget about making allowances for youth or any other constraint - apart, perhaps, from some momentarily confusing doubling of roles. This is excellent work by any standards The three parts of Henry VI have been adapted by Richard Pearson into two parts of moderate length. Part 1, The House of Lancaster - all I have been able to see so far - works brilliantly, suggesting that what is too often thought of as a historic pageant is really a thriller.

Director Stewart McGill and designer Anthony Rowe have conceived the production with a kind of brilliant unobtrusiveness. It is acted on a large cross of turf (the combined scent of turf and incense makes for a heady atmosphere) and music is beautifully incorprated. The cast even launches the show with a very presentable account of one of Tallis's English motets - an achievement in its own right. Simon Pollard doubles as choral director.

Running time (each part): Two hours. Further performances Thur-Sat (House of Lancaster Thur 3pm, Fri 7.30pm, Sat 3pm; House of York Thur, Sat 7.30pm; also at Kenilworth Castle on July 15/16. Box office: 01926 419555


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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 23, 2005
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