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REVIEWS & CAST

2009
Much Ado About Nothing
A Midsummer Night's Dream

2008
A Midsummer Night's Dream

2007
Henry V
As You Like It

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2006

Romeo & Juliet
A Midsummer Night's Dream

-
2005
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Taming of the Shrew

-
2004
Twelfth Night
Much Ado About Nothing

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2003
As You Like It
Hamlet

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2002
Romeo & Juliet
A Midsummer Night's Dream

-
2001
Macbeth
The Taming of the Shrew

-
2000
Twelfth Night
Much Ado About Nothing

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1999
Hamlet
As You Like It

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1998
Henry V
A Midsummer Night's Dream

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1997
Romeo & Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew

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1996
As You Like It
Much Ado About Nothing

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1995
Twelfth Night
A Midsummer Night's Dream


HENRY V

CAST

King Henry the Fifth
Robert J. Williamson

Monsieur Le Fer &
Duke of Bedford
Craig Gilbert

Duke of Exeter & Chorus
David Davies

Earl of Westmorland
Matthew Hebden

Archbishop of Canterbury,
Sir Thomas Grey &
Charles Delabreth
Adam Redmayne

Richard, Earl of Cambridge,
Charles the Sixth &
John Bates
John Ioannou

Henry, Lord Scoop,
Captain Fluellen & Nym
Christopher Llewellyn

Sir Thomas Erpingham,
Bardolph &
Duke of Burgundy
Barrie Palmer

Captain Macmorris
& Montjoy
Shane Armstrong

Michael Williams
William Reay

Pistol
James Alexandrou

Boy & Alice
Zahra Browne

Hostess
Joanna Ferris

Louis the Dauphin
Robert Crumpton

Duke of Orléans
Richard Mark

Isabel
Stacey Roca

Katherine
Martha Swann

Director
Robert J Williamson


AS YOU LIKE IT

CAST

Duke Senior &
Duke Frederick
David Davies

Le Beau &
Sir Oliver Martext
Christopher Llewellyn

Charles & William
William Reay

Amiens
Richard Mark

Jacques
Robert J. Williamson

A Lord
Adam Redmayne

Jacques
Craig Gilbert

Oliver
Matthew Hebden

Orlando
James Alexandrou

Adam & a masquer
Barrie Palmer

The Clown
Robert Crumpton

Corin
John Ioannou

Denis & Silvius
Shane Armstrong

Rosalind
Martha Swann

Celia
Stacey Roca

Phebe
Zahra Browne

Audrey
Joanna Ferris

Director
Pip Minnithorpe


FOR THE COMPANY

Artistic Director
Robert J Williamson

BSC Literary Director
Assistant Director & Dramaturgue
Robert Crumpton

Musical Director
Richard Mark

Choreographer
Bernadette Wilfred

Costume Supervisor & Designer
Elizabeth Evans

Fight Director
Kevin Rowntree

Set Design
Robert J Williamson

Technical & Stage Manager
Chris Walker

Deputy Stage Manager
Ruth Lodge

Assistant to Robert J Williamson
Craig Gilbert

Casting
Robert J Williamson


 

 

 

 
 

shakespeare poster

 

Tour 2007

Henry V
As You Like It

Starring:
James Alexandrou
Stacey Roca
Robert J Williamson

Full cast details below

Performed at:
ComXo, Windsor
Ramme Gaard, Norway
Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds
Wadham College, Oxford
Stirling Castle

2007 reviews


“The best Bard none”
YORKSHIRE EVENING POST


HENRY V

Agincourt is undoubtedly one of England's most famous battles, and Henry V one of Shakespeare's best-known history plays. Variously seen as anti-war or passionately nationalist, the play explores the difficulty of being both a lover of peace and a wager of war as Henry is, while presenting us with the usual stereotypes of the enemy, such as the "confident and over-lusty French". Both the play and British Shakesepeare Company's production carry these off confidently.

In 2003, the play was performed at the Royal National Theatre as a propaganda piece against the Iraq war. Thankfully, BSC has provided a production which doesn't over-emphasise the political parallels and is less overtly political, being staged in Elizabeth costume and without stentorian references to modern politics. As such, it develops more fully an awareness of the political situation in England at the close of the 16th century, with Elizabeth I about to die, and an increasingly worrying France looming across England's Protestant borders.

David Davies offered an outstanding performance as the Chorus, making an excellent job of an awkward and antique dramatic role, giving it energy and humour and thus illuminating the connections and structures of the play. Christopher Lewellyn, in the role of Fluellen, was equally superb, handling a Welsh accent, a cudgel and a leek with aplomb. James Alexandrou was impressive in the role of Pistol and his exchanges with Fluellen were a high point of comic relief in the play. Also notable was Robert Crumpton's self-satisfied, petulant Dauphin, whose preference for his horse over his mistress left little to the nimble imagination.

Robert J. Williamson's direction was excellent. At the key moments, during Henry V's set pieces such as "Once more unto the breach, dear friends" or the famous "We few, we happy few", he was capable of being magnificent. 4 stars
OXFORD TIMES


Exciting, banner waving spectacle in the evening light from the British Shakespeare company. David Davies, who is blessed with a noble voice, speaks the opening Chorus lines. He stirs audience imaginations beyond the confines of the wooden O, or in this case the Kirkstall Abbey cloisters, and off we go.

Initially Robert J Williamson’s King Henry is not quite a striking figure and some of his lords are making scenes appear static by not expressing their physicality. Yet once the scent of battle is in the air Williamson does become the warrior king and the lords and officers react to him. He revels in the stirring speeches. Henry’s courtship of the French Princess Katharine, Martha Swann, is as charming an interlude as it should be and is played with wit and style by both parties. Zahra Browne as Katharine’s attendant makes every line work to her advantage. On the English side Joanna Ferris is a splendid Tavern Hostess despite James Alexandrou not, as yet, looking comfortable as her husband Pistol. Shane Armstrong impresses as both the French Herald Montjoy and the English Captain MacMorris. He is a more than reliable actor, as is Adam Redmayne who stands out as the Constable of France.

Williamson has again gathered a goodly crop of young actors for his annual tour. His company has helped launch many fine careers. Outdoor theatre enthusiasts rarely have an opportunity to see a Henry V. Given a couple performances to iron out character relationships this will be a very good one.
THE STAGE


Even a cursory glance through Shakespeare's canon reveals that Williamson's company is serving his works most effectively – perhaps even more so than the royally approved RSC.
NICK AHAD, YORKSHIRE POST


The British Shakespeare Company has made its annual trip to Leeds with a double bill of As You Like It and this gripping production of Henry V. Now in its 13th year at Kirkstall, the open air Shakespeare festival is a must not just for lovers of classical theatre but for anyone who enjoys exceptional performances in the most beautiful theatrical space the city can offer.

This year the festival is being sold on the box office pulling power of former EastEnders star James Alexandrou but it is now such a familiar and welcome fixture in the area's cultural calendar it probably doesn't need to put such a focus on any one performer. However, it has to be said that the artist formerly known as Martin Fowler equips himself very well in what is not only his first Shakespearean role but his very first foray into theatre. His confident turn as Pistol shows a natural aptitude for comedy which probably didn't get much chance to be aired down Albert Square and he is clearly a young actor with a lot to offer. I suspect he will find it easier than most to shake off the shackles of his soap alter ego.

Elsewhere, the company's founder Robert J Williamson, who also directs here, makes an inspiring King Harry and there are also extremely strong perfomances from Christopher Llewellyn as Captain Fluellen and David Davies, who is captivating in his dual roles of the Chorus and the Duke of Exeter.

With summer appearing to have made a belated visit to Yorkshire an evening spent with the BSC is a magical one and one that comes highly recommended.
MORLEY OBSERVER & ADVERTISER


Once again, the BSC was magnificent, from Robert J Williamson as Henry to Christopher Llewellyn's Captain Fluellen. David Davies' performance as Henry's Uncle, the Duke of Exeter, was sublime also. His role as narrator to the piece imbued the performance with all the authority it deserved. Treat yourself to a ticket.
KEIGHLEY NEWS


“The BSC is Europe's leading exponent of open-air theatre”
YORKSHIRE POST


Thank Heaven for the buccaneering spirit of intrepid actor-manager Robert J. Williamson. His unsubsidised British Shakespeare Company defies anything the great British summer can throw at it and continues to delight audiences with lavish open air productions staged in some of the most beautiful and historic locations in the Land.

This year witnesses a rare foray into the history plays of William Shakespeare with a new production of Henry V, previously staged only once at these festivals: that was back in 1998 with Williamson in the title role. A matured Williamson returns with a carefully studied and finely crafted performance free of histrionics, and bringing to the fore the humanity of the young monarch. We glimpse Henry's tender side in his awkward wooing of the non-English speaking Katherine, Princess of France - a delightfully idiomatic performance from Martha Swann.

An excellent young company of seventeen actors is directed by Williamson with his innate flair and sense of pace. There is an impressive theatrical and Shakespearean debut from James Alexandrou - formerly Martin Fowler in BBC's EastEnders - as Pistol. Alexandrou and Joanna Ferris's comely Mistress Quickly make a splendid comedy double-act, ably assisted by Christopher Llewellyn as Nym and Barrie Palmer as Bardolph. David Davies invests the roles of Chorus and the Duke of Exeter with his customary sonorous authority.

There is a pall of smoke and a distinct smell of battle in the famous Agincourt scene as heavy armour, swords and shields clash with sickening authenticity in Williamson's staging of this "mother of all battles".

It all fits so beautifully into this magical setting of the arches and shadows of kirkstall Abbey's ancient cloisters. Take along a picnic, absorb the atmosphere and stay dry - most of the seating is under cover but the actors do get a soaking if it rains.
ILKLEY GAZETTE & WHARFEDALE OBSERVER


AS YOU LIKE IT

Frolics in the Forest of Arden and the British Shakespeare Company is taking along its very own forest. A clump of fine saplings plus two colourful tournament tents, various wagons and lots of straw make for an enchanting set. Equally attractive are the actors and a wandering minstrel, all costumed in traditional Tudor styles. Put all of that into a romantic location such as Kirkstall Abbey and audience imaginations will not have to leap too far.

Martha Swann excels as Rosalind, the role every young woman wants to play. Stacey Roco, appearing outdoors for the first time, gives gleeful support as Rosalind’s cousin Celia. Their banter sets a happy tone.

James Alexandrou’s playing of Rosalind’s love interest Orlando is hardly likely to set the forest on fire, as yet, but he is willing enough and there are interesting glimpses. His wrestling bout with Willam Reay’s Charles is enormous fun. Part pantomime, part knockabout cartoon, and the audience immediately entering into the spirit of the contest.

Further down the social scale there is good comic playing from shepherds and servants, especially Shane Armstrong and Joanna Ferris.

Director Pip Minnithorpe and choreographer Bernadette Wilfred have a large cast moving with purpose and intent and there is much comic inventiveness.
THE STAGE


It's hard to know exactly why Williamson chose to stage it, other than the fact that he has done the obvious choices several times in recent years. He may also have been tempted a few years ago when he found such a strong actor in Martha Swann, someone capable of taking on the dream role of Rosalind.

Swann doesn't disappoint, with a complex and multi-layered Rosalind, although one who is a little more flighty than a wilful intellectual, as she can be on the page. Swann's brilliant performance of the epilogue is worth the admission price on its own.

James Alexandrou, best known as Martin Fowler in Eastenders, grows through the performance of Orlando into his role and by the middle part of the second half is impressive.

Old hand Robert Crumpton is excellent, as usual, although a touch too much arrogance creeps into his performance, and Joanna Ferris and the beautiful Zahra Browne are excellent in their cameos. There are also the usual directorial flourishes from Williamson.
NICK AHAD, YORKSHIRE POST


One of Shakespeare's finest comic offerings brought a ray of sunshine - literally and metaphorically - to Kirkstall Abbey on Tuesday evening. The annual Leeds Shakespeare Festival run by R J Williamson has returned - and will make this miserable summer all the brighter for it.

As You Like It throws off the heavy shackles of noble courts and relocates to the forest where a banished duke and daughter and a brother on the run have all been forced to make their home.

Having previously met and fallen in love under their normal guises of Rosalind and Orlando, the couple meet again in the forest, but this time Rosalind has cross-dressed to become Gannymede.

She takes endless delight in probing and scrutinizing Orlando's professed love for Rosalind - while somehow managing to get feisty female Phebe to fall in love with her too.

Martha Swann as Rosalind was wonderful - as she always is - but it was Stacey Roca's Celia who provided the performance of the night. She was just perfect in her supporting role.

Robert J Williamson's morose and mirthless Jacques was another highlight while James Alexandrou's Orlando was near faultless in this his stage debut.

A fantastic, laughter-filled night out in the forest awaits you.
KEIGHLEY NEWS


Speculation over As You Like it largely surrounded whether James Alexandrou, better known as Eastenders' Martin "Faaahla", would suit Shakespearean prose as opposed to Cockney market stall banter. In fact his interpretation of the lead role Orlando makes for an impressive debut and obvious talent for slapstick humour, albeit enhanced by an immensely enjoyable stage connection with Martha Swann as Rosalind

Hugely absorbing from start to finish and interpreting 400-year-old jokes in a way that effortlessly triggered mass laugher, this production is theatre at its best and, coupled with the unique atmosphere of Kirkstall Abbey, makes for a perfect summer's evening of entertainment.
HALIFAX COURIER


 

 
   

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