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The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry surnamed Hotspur

Plot Summary

After deposing King Richard II, Henry Bullingbrook has ascended the throne as Henry IV. Guilt about the desposition troubles his conscience, and the stability of his reign is threatened by growing opposition from some of the nobles who helped him to the throne. His son, Prince Henry (also known as Harry and, by Falstaff, as Hal), is living a dissolute life, frequenting the taverns of Eastcheap in the company of Sir John Falstaff and other disreputable characters, with whom he participates in a highway robbery.

Opposition to the king becomes open rebellion, led by the Earl of Northumberland's son Henry Percy, known for his courage and impetuous nature as Hotspur. The Percy family support the claim to the throne of Hotspur's brother-in-law, Edmund Mortimer. The rebellion brings Hal back to his father's side, while Falstaff musters a ragged troop of soldiers. The king's army defeat the rebels at the battle of Shrewsbury, where Hal kills Hotspur. Falstaff lives to die another day.

RSC Staging History 1960-2007

1964 RST: Peter Hall, John Barton, Clifford Williams
John Bury( design); John Bradley (lighting); Guy Woolfenden (music)


Hugh Griffith (Falstaff), Ian Holm (Hal), Eric Porter (Henry IV), Roy Dotrice (Hotspur), Roy Dotrice (Shallow), Susan Engel (Doll), Clive Swift (Poins), Janet Suzman (Lady Percy), Clive Morton (Worcester), Patience Collier (Mistress Quickly), Clive Swift (Silence), Peter Geddis (Feeble)

1966 RST: John Barton, Trevor Nunn, Clifford Williams
John Bury (design); John Bradley (lighting); Guy Woolfenden (music)


Paul Rogers (Falstaff), Ian Holm (Hal), Tony Church (Henry IV), Norman Rodway (Hotspur), John Normington (Shallow), Patsy Byrne (Doll), Daniel Moynihan (Poins), Sheila Allen (Lady Percy), Richard Moore (Pistol), Estelle Kohler (Lady Mortimer), David Waller (Worcester), Elizabeth Spriggs (Mistress Quickly), David Waller (Silence), John Kane (Francis), Jeffery Dench (York), Patrick Stewart (Mowbray), Malcolm McDowell (Clarence), Peter Geddis (Mouldy/Rumour)

1975 RST/1976 Aldwych: Terry Hands
Farrah (design); Stewart Leviton (lighting); Guy Woolfenden (music)


Brewster Mason (Falstaff), Alan Howard (Hal), Emrys James (Henry IV), Stuart Wilson (Hotspur), Sydney Bromley (Shallow), Mikel Lambert (Doll), Trevor Peacock (Poins), Ann Hasson (Lady Percy), Richard Moore (Pistol), Ken Stott (Ralph), Charles Dance (John of Lancaster), George Baker (Worcester), Bob Peck (Mowbray)

1980 Small-scale Tour: Bill Alexander
Douglas Heap (design); Brian Wigney (lighting)


Alfred Marks (Falstaff), David Rintoul (Hal), Bernard Lloyd (Henry IV), Stuart Wilson (Hotspur), Willoughby Gray (Shallow/Worcester), Patti Love (Doll/Lady Mortimer), Barbara Jefford (Mistress Quickly), Simon Haywood (Poins), Juliet Stevenson (Lady Percy), Tim Stern (Bardolph), John Burgess (Pistol/Northumberland), David-Shaw Parker (Silence), Martin Howells (John of Lancaster/Peto/Mouldy), Andrew Jarvis (Mowbray/Warwick)

1982 Barbican: Trevor Nunn
John Napier (design); David Hersey (lighting); Guy Woolfenden (music)


Joss Ackland (Falstaff), Gerard Murphy (Hal), Patrick Stewart (Henry IV), Timothy Dalton/Hugh Quarshie (Hotspur), Robert Eddison (Shallow/Northumberland), Gemma Jones (Doll/Lady Mortimer), Miles Anderson (Poins), Harriet Walter (Lady Percy), Mike Gwilym (Pistol), John Rogan (Bardolph), Miriam Karlin (Mistress Quickly), Kevin Wallace (John of Lancaster), John Franklyn-Robbins (Worcester), Griffith Jones (Lord Chief Justice), John Burgess (Scroop), Bernard Lloyd (Glendower), Bernard Brown (Westmoreland), David Lloyd Meredith (Silence), Ray Jewers (Blunt), Simon Templeman (Mortimer/Clarence), Dexter Fletcher (Francis), Brian Poyser (Warwick), Philip Franks (Morton/Shadow), Ronan Wilmot (Archibald), Graham Turner (Dick), James Fleet (Peto)

1991 RST/1992 Barbican: Adrian Noble
Bob Crowley (sets), Deirdre Clancy (costumes); Alan Burrett (lighting); Edward Gregson (music)


Robert Stephens (Falstaff), Michael Maloney (Hal), Julian Glover (Henry IV), Owen Teale (Hotspur), David Bradley (Shallow), Joanne Pearce (Doll), Rob Edwards (Poins), Sylvestra Le Touzel (Lady Percy), Albie Woodington (Pistol), Bill Wallis (Bardolph), Linda Bassett (Mistress Quickly), Ian Hughes (John of Lancaster), Philip Voss (Worcester/Lord Chief Justice), Clifford Rose (Scroop), Bernard Kay (Glendower), Gary Powell (Westmoreland), Anthony Douse (Silence/Blunt), Kevin Doyle (Mortimer/Mowbray), Jane Gurnett (Lady Mortimer), Denys Hawthorne (Northumberland/Sheriff), Christopher Luscombe (Francis/Feeble), Paul Kiernan (Warwick/Morton), Michael Gould (Clarence), Angus Wright (Archibald/Bullcalf), Kenn Sabberton (Shadow/Snare)

2000 Swan/2001 Barbican: Michael Attenborough ('This England: the Histories')
Es Devlin (sets), Kandis Cook (costumes); Tim Mitchell (lighting); Paddy Cunneen (music)


Desmond Barrit (Falstaff), William Houston (Hal), David Troughton (Henry IV), Adam Levy (Hotspur), Benjamin Whitrow (Shallow), Danielle Tilley (Doll), Robert Portal (Poins), Nancy Carroll (Lady Percy), Richard Bremmer (Pistol), Arthur Cox (Bardolph), Sandra Voe (Mistress Quickly), Dickon Tyrrell (John of Lancaster), Clifford Rose (Worcester/Lord Chief Justice), David Killick (Scroop/Sherrif), Rowland Davies (Glendower), David Lyon (Westmoreland), Peter Copley (Silence), Alexis Daniel (Mortimer), Joe Renton (Mowbray), Mali Harries (Lady Mortimer), Christopher Saul (Northumberland), Russell Layton (Francis), Don Gallagher (Warwick/Morton/Blunt), James Albrecht (Clarence)

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