Review by: Paul Towers, 11 February 2016
An Audience With Henry VIII by Ross Gurney-Randall & Pete Howells
An RGR Productions/Foundry Group co-production
Upstairs @ The Western, 11 February 2016
“a rollicking romp.”
From the moment that Ross Gurney-Randall’s late King Henry VIII bursts onto the stage we are assured of a riotous evening’s entertainment.
Stuck for the last 469 years in purgatory awaiting the appearance of God so he can be absolved of his sins, the notorious womanising Tudor monarch holds court with us, his captive audience.
Railing long and loudly, especially loudly, against the misinformation about his reputation that has accumulated over the passing four centuries, this much misunderstood sovereign (his words, not mine) sets about putting the record straight.
He did not have syphilis. Everyone else in Europe did, but not His Majesty. The ‘departure’ of his various wives were expediencies thrust upon him by his political and regal advisors. The King loved them all. Well, maybe not the adulterous Catherine Howard. But all the rest. Mostly.
This is a rumbustious telling of a period in English history that saw the dissolution of the monasteries and the creation of the Church of England. As His Majesty sits and awaits, in vain, his Lord’s arrival we are treated to a bombastic lecture laced with raucous humour; a rollicking romp through the Tudor king’s tumultuous life as he attempts to justify his few victories and many failings with many a sly wink to the audience.
Ross Gurney-Randall’s performance is a master class in powerful arrogance entwined with emotional vulnerability.
Full details of upcoming dates for this award winning show can be found at www.foundrygroup.co.uk
First published in Western Gazette
and on Pub Theatres