“For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings…”
– William Shakespeare, King Richard II, Act III, scene ii
Okay, I know not everyone is enthralled by the carryings on of royalty, but I am and from the crowds lining up to see William and Kate on their recent North American visit, I know I’m not alone. Besides, this is history, voices speaking to us from the past and reminding us that human nature remains much the same while politics, religion, and fashions change constantly around us.
I just adore that speech from Richard II (why does no one ever stage Richard II??), the first two lines of which open this review. The Hollow Crown begins with Nigel Gore reciting it in its entirety, and I would have happily sat there and listened to him do it over and over and over again…but that is just me. For the rest of you, the show moves right along into a series of wonderful, juicy letters, poems, songs, and third person accounts of the lives, loves, marriages, and mistresses of an entire millennium of English royalty, read by Gore, Jason Asprey, Corinna May, Annette Miller, and Kristin Wold, with wonderful musical interludes under the direction of Bill Barclay.