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Shakespeare in the Ruins Presents Henry V- Just About Perfect!


Why did I so thoroughly enjoy last night’s performance of Henry V presented by the Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR)  theatre company? 


Was it because I was overwhelmed with nostalgia?  After a decade of performing at other venues in Winnipeg, the SIR company has finally returned to the Trappist Monastery Provincial Park. I’ve been to so many great performances there in the past– A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and The Tempest to name just a few. It felt like a homecoming to be back at the park.


Was it because we were at the show with friends from Hong Kong we hadn’t seen since we moved back to Canada almost a year ago? Sandy, John and Tad are fellow teachers from the international school in Hong Kong where we worked for six years. They are spending a week with us here in Winnipeg and going to Henry V was a great way to kick off our time together.

Was it because the play was set in World War I and that alternate setting made the story interesting and thought-provoking? The production added so many little details from the World War I period, from authentic costumes to period music. They had the brilliant idea of making the Chorus a war photojournalist. The ambience felt ‘right’. The alternate setting enriched the play watching experience for me. 

Nadine Pinette as Catherine and Toby Hughes as Henry – photo from Shakespeare in the Ruins website

Was it because the play ended with a touch of romance?  I’m a sucker for romance in a play or movie. Henry V concludes with a charming scene where Henry proposes to Katherine, the French princess. 

Actresses Sarah Constible and Nadine Pinette – photo from Shakespeare in the Ruins website

Was it because the play moved quickly, was easy to follow and had a number of very funny scenes? The Winnipeg Free Press reviewer thought the play at SIR wasn’t serious enough and had too breezy a tone. She felt too much of the important text from the script had been left out. Maybe it was my buoyant mood but I loved the comedy and the fast pace of the SIR production. My attention was completely captured for the entire performance. 


Maybe it was because it was the very best of summer evenings that Manitoba has to offer. The sky was a beautiful blue with fluffy clouds. There was only a slight breeze. There were no mosquitoes. It was the perfect temperature, not too cold or too hot. There was even a stunning Manitoba sunset to end the evening and impress our Hong Kong guests with the beauty of our prairie province.


Why did I enjoy the Shakespeare in the Ruins performance of Henry V so much? There were lots of reasons!

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