Phil Willmott

The RSC release Shakespeare DVDs to enjoy at home

Royal Shakespeare Company - DVDs One of theatre’s great innovations in recent years has been the filming of hit productions, enabling us to enjoy them on screen after they've finished their runs in live venues.

There was a time when producers may have worried it would affect sales if the public knew they had the cheaper option of watching a film of a hit show rather than paying four times the amount to see the production in the theatre.

But of course the two experiences can’t compare and most people still opt to see things live if they can. However if you’re unable to get a ticket to see, say, Judy Dench in THE WINTER'S TALE because they've all been snapped up, you’re a bit broke or you can’t get to London it’s great that you can see screenings at your local cinema.

On the whole actors give subtler performances for the camera then in the theatre where things need to be bigger for a live audience who don’t get to see close ups. I was sceptical, imagining everything might look a bit too theatrical when captured on film but this hasn't been the case.

It was very difficult to get a ticket to see David Tennant as Shakespeare’s Richard II, which sold out as soon as it was announced so it's good news that the latest addition to the vast array of productions now available on DVD is a newly released film of the production, included in a box set with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s revivals of 4 of the Bard’s other history plays.

Filmed live at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, each DVD includes a commentary by director Gregory Doran and Assistant Director Owen Horsley, giving an exclusive insight into the process of staging the plays.

The works included in the collection, which the RSC press folk describe as “Shakespeare’s great cycle of kings” are Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II and Henry V.

David Tennant plays Richard II alongside Nigel Lindsay as Bolingbroke in the film of the 2013 production. In Henry IV Parts I and II, Antony Sher plays Falstaff with Jasper Britton in the role of Henry IV, while Alex Hassell plays Prince Hal before returning in the climax of the cycle as Henry V. All purchases support the work of the Royal Shakespeare Company.