Rose Rage

Part One: Previewed 12 June 2002, Opened 16 June 2002, Closed 21 July 2002
Part Two: Previewed 13 June 2002, Opened 16 June 2002, Closed 21 July 2002
(in repertory) at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

William Shakespeare's Henry VI presented in a two-part adaptation Rose Rage in London by the Propeller Theatre Company

Rose Rage condenses Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy into two action-packed plays which can be viewed separately or together as a double event.

Adapted by Edward Hall and Roger Warren and performed by the Propeller Theatre Company an all-male ensemble under the Artistic Direction of Edward Hall.

Part One: With Henry V barely cold in his grave, leaving his infant son as heir to the throne, the English nobility are quarelling over power and control. Richard of York sets Jack Cade the peoples hero, to start a rebellion, putting the country into turmoil. At the battle of St Albans two great forces meet and so begin a blood battle for the throne...

Part Two: With the power struggle continuing, a defeated King Henry VI agrees that after his death the crown shall go to York, rather than his own son. Queen Margret, in order to protect her son's birthright, kills York. York's son Edward then defeats Margret, and she flees to France. The war excalates...

The ensemble cast features Jonathan McGuinness as 'Henry VI', Robert Hands as 'Queen Margaret', Tony Bell, Richard Clothier, Emilio Doorgasingh, Matthew Flynn, Vincent Leigh, Christian Myles, Simon Scardifield, Tim Treloar, Jules Werner, and Guy Williams.

Directed by Edward Hall, with designs by Michael Pavelka, lighting by Ben Ormerod, and music by Tony Bell, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, and Vincent Leigh.

Prior to London, this production premiered at the Newbury Watermill Theatre, Berkshire - previewed from 3 February 2001, opened on 8 February 2001, and closed on 17 March 2001 - followed by a short regional tour, with the same cast, with the exception of Dugald Bruce-Lockhart who was in the cast at the Watermill only, and Tim Treloar and Jules Werner who where in the cast at the West End's Haymarket Theatre only.

Robert Hands' London theatre credits include the roles of 'Mr Cecil Graham' in Peter Hall's revival of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan at the Haymarket Theatre in 2002; and 'Troilus' in Alan Strachan's revival of William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 1998.

"This adaptation struck me as rather brilliant. The trilogy is a sustained orgy of violence and grief interspersed with soaring patches of tremendous verse as rival families slaughter each other in a long, hugely complex dynastic struggle. Director Ed Hall and his co-adaptor Roger Warren have decided to portray England as a modern abattoir. So whenever anyone is tortured or beheaded (which happens roughly every 10 minutes), butchers in white masks come on and chop real offal with a terrific banging of knives. It's a sickening parallel image for the horrors depicted in the play... With its revolting buckets of intestines slopping about, this is not for the faint-hearted. But as they say in Scotland, it's offal good." The Daily Express

"The director, Edward Hall, plays Rose Rage, his and Roger Warren's compressed version of the trilogy into two two-hour plays for an all-male cast of 12, like a movie with quick cuts and at rollercoaster speed... It's a pleasure to see this collaborative act of storytelling played by such a seasoned ensemble as Hall's touring Propeller company. Good turns include Tony Bell as the kingmaker Warwick and the rebellious Jack Cade, Guy Williams as a drunken Edward, Richard Clothier as the crookbacked Richard of Gloucester... and Robert Hands flirting with camp as Henry's imperious and malevolent wife, the 'she-wolf' Margaret... What's lacking is a sense of time passing with nobody in this production seeming to age. The tit-for-tat butcheries finally lack an important sense of futility and loss and a nation in decline. Nonetheless, this two-parter is a vibrant, gripping piece of theatre that's best seen together in a day." The Times

"A tremendous show... Violence is committed at one remove. Stabbings and eviscerations are shown by the gruesome chopping of lights, livers and giblets on a wooden board by actors in white overalls. Yes, now we were in an abattoir. But an abattoir where the inmates sing Abide With Me, Jerusalem, the Latin Mass and even, in the street rebellion scenes, a rapid white rap to rival Eminem. The RSC has gloriously restored these plays. But a pocket, cutup version is still of great merit and value. It is thrilling stuff, with standout work by Robert Hands as Margaret (not remotely mincing)... Jonathan McGuinness as Henry VI and Simon Scardifield as the widow fiancee in a black lace dress." The Daily Mail

Rose Rage in London at the Haymarket Theatre previewed from 12 June 2002, opened on 16 June 2002, and closed on 21 July 2002