Open main menu
This page has been validated.
Henry the Fifth
137
 

certain that this record refers to Shakespeare's play. We have positive record of a performance given at Covent Garden Theatre, February 23, 1738. Seven years later, at the time of the last Jacobite rising, the play was once more presented at the same theatre, perhaps by way of stirring the patriotism of the Londoners at a time when the Scots were marching on the city and France was supposed to be preparing to invade England. In this latter performance, the part of Pistol was played by the younger Cibber. Garrick presented the play at Drury Lane on December 16, 1747, but left the part of King Henry to Barry, appearing himself as the Chorus, in the costume of the day—'a full-dress court suit with powdered bag-wig, ruffles, and sword.'

Under the lavish management of Rich, Covent Garden gave a very elaborate production in 1761, including an interpolated scene, borrowed from Henry IV, Part 2, representing the coronation procession. The popular actress, George Anne Bellamy, walked in the procession as Queen. Another spectacular touch was added in the revival of 1769 at the same theatre by the introduction of the Champion (of the coronation ceremony) in full armor and on horseback. Drury Lane revived the play for the first time in twenty years in 1789, with John Philip Kemble as Henry; and the same actor performed the part from time to time during his career. He secured a telling stage effect at the close of Act IV by suddenly interrupting his prayer, at the sound of the trumpet, and rushing off the stage sword in hand. On March 8, 1830, Edmund Kean appeared at Drury Lane in the rôle of King Henry. His memory failed him during the performance and he was obliged to apologize to the audience from the stage. During the nineteenth century the play was performed also by William Macready, Samuel Phelps and Charles Kean. The production given by the latter at the Princess's