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You Need to See Player Kings… Here’s Why

From dazzling stars to perfectly timed comedy, here are all the reasons you must see Player Kings at Norwich Theatre Royal this July!


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Two of Shakespeare’s legendary plays have been rolled into one sleek and memorable production in Robert Icke’s Player Kings, heading to Norwich Theatre Royal on 17 – 20 Jul. From celebrating British culture to witnessing acting icons on stage, here are five reasons you should see the show. 

A Shakespeare Masterpiece 

Player Kings is based upon Shakespeare’s plays, King Henry IV Part I and II. Often depicted as some of the Bard’s greatest work, the play is packed with action, humour and betrayal. Critics often claim that Falstaff, portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen, is one of literature’s most beloved comedic characters, appearing in three of Shakespeare’s plays. His character beautifully balances out the serious political themes with undertones of wit and humour. With his tendencies to self-indulge in alcohol and food, one could consider him the original Homer Simpson.

The Greatest Actors! 

Sir Ian McKellen has certainly used his wizardry to enchant audiences with a captivating performance as Falstaff, a self-absorbed and drunken old man who beautifully cuts the tension of the story with wit and humour. Ted Lasso actor Toheeb Jimoh also steals the limelight as the captivating Prince Harry ‘Hal’, the divisive heir to the throne. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Coupling star Richard Coyle stars alongside as Hal’s dad, Henry IV. The entire cast is sprinkled with familiar faces and unmatched talent. 

British Theatre at its Best 

Player Kings is a celebration of British culture at its best and worst. Robert Icke has tastefully modernised this production but certainly not taken away the utter patriotism that runs through its veins. The costumes and set design are, at times, comparable to This is England or Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem with Doc Martens stomping the stage, reminiscent of a 1990s Britain rather than 1590s. There are two distinct character tropes in Player Kings that are reflected in today’s pre-election nation: the loyal subjects of the king and the rebels longing for change. If you’re wanting the sweet combination of a BBC political drama mixed with more action and booze, this is a show for you!  

It’s Funny!  

One of the many things Shakespeare could really nail was adding humour to a play to break up the tension! Between moments of drama that will have you on the edge of your seat, wit and charm weaves its way through the script to lighten the mood and keep you giggling. McKellen’s Falstaff offers most of the humour with his pompous remarks and serves as the butt of jokes due to his idle and arrogant behaviour. Everyone knows a Falstaff, the regular at the pub who exaggerates their stories and drinks one too many pints. Or a Hal, the prankster who prefers to joke around than face their responsibilities. Keep your eyes peeled for other modern reflections, from robberies to raves. 

Local Talent  

With an extensive and extremely talented cast, don’t overlook the local talent! Local actor, Mark Monero, takes to the stage as Peto, Falstaff’s loyal companion. Originally from Norwich, he depicts a brave warrior who is eager for battle and partial to some tomfoolery. As a part of Falstaff’s group of misfits, he brings a sense of joy to the play between moments of darkness and politics. Be sure to come along and support him! 

This is your opportunity to tick something off the bucket list. Don’t miss your chance to see Ian McKellen, widely considered to be one of the greatest actors of all time, in this legendary Shakespeare production. Make your night extra special by booking a table at our restaurant, Prelude, for an exceptional pre-show dining experience. Relax knowing that your table will be yours for the evening and return during the interval for a dessert or celebratory drink, in true Falstaff style!    

You shall not pass… without a ticket, get them here! 

Player Kings