Tony winner Ian McKellen will at last play John Falstaff in Robert Icke's new adaptation of William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. Titled Player Kings, Icke's adaptation reworks the two history plays into a single evening of theatre, which Icke also directs.
Said McKellen, “I decided to become a professional actor at Cambridge in 1959, when I was in John Barton’s undergraduate production of Henry IV. Derek Jacobi played Prince Hal and I was the ancient Justice Shallow. Ever since, the plays have been among my favorite Shakespeares, although through the years I’ve resisted offers to play John Falstaff. Robert Icke’s ingenious adaptation was irresistible.”
Running for 12 weeks in the West End at the Noël Coward Theatre, the production will begin performances April 1, and continue through June 22, 2024. The production will preview previews at the New Wimbledon Theatre from March 1 to 9, and at the Manchester Opera House from March 14 to 23.
Additional casting and creative team members will be announced at a later date.
“It’s a genuine honour to work with one of our greatest Shakespearean actors, Ian McKellen, especially as he tackles one of the most iconic Shakespearean roles—and one he's previously never turned his hand to," Icke states. "It’s an exciting challenge to bring together two of Shakespeare’s plays into one production, and I’m so excited to share Player Kings with audiences in the West End and across the country."
At every performance in each of the three venues there will be 8,000 tickets made available for £30 or under to encourage the attendance of those under 30. These tickets, which will be distributed throughout the auditorium on all levels, will be available to purchase online and in advance.
For more information, visit PlayerKingsthePlay.co.uk.