Photos: Get a 1st Look at Ian McKellen as Falstaff in Player Kings | Playbill

Production Photos Photos: Get a 1st Look at Ian McKellen as Falstaff in Player Kings

The adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Henry IV presents McKellen as one of Shakespeare's most popular comic foils.

Ian McKellen in Player Kings Manuel Harlan

Tony winner Ian McKellen has finally assumed the mantle of John Falstaff in Robert Icke's new adaptation of William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2.

Running for 12 weeks in the West End at the Noël Coward Theatre, the production begins performances April 1, and will continue through June 22. The production previously previewed at the New Wimbledon Theatre from March 1 to 9, and is currently at the Manchester Opera House through March 23.

Titled Player Kings, Icke's adaptation reworks the two history plays into a single evening of theatre, which Icke also directs.

Photos: Player Kings in the West End

Said McKellen in a previous statement, “I decided to become a professional actor at Cambridge in 1959, when I was in John Barton’s undergraduate production of Henry IV. Derek Jacobi played Prince Hal and I was the ancient Justice Shallow. Ever since, the plays have been among my favorite Shakespeares, although through the years I’ve resisted offers to play John Falstaff. Robert Icke’s ingenious adaptation was irresistible.”

McKellen is joined by Toheeb Jimoh (Ted Lasso, Romeo and Juliet) as Hal and Richard Coyle (Ink, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore) as King Henry IV.

Completing the cast are Raphael Akuwudike as Prince John/Second Drawer, Sara Beharrell as Hotspur’s Servant/Snare/Davy, Samuel Edward-Cook as Hotspur/Pistol, Geoffrey Freshwater as Bardolph, James Garnon as Worcester/Silence, Alice Hayes as Messenger/Carrier, Henry Jenkinson as Harcourt, Nigel Lister as Northumberland/Francis, Annette McLaughlin as Warwick, Mark Monero as Peto, Hywel Morgan as Sir Walter Blunt, Joseph Mydell as Lord Chief Justice, Clare Perkins as Mistress Quickly, Daniel Rabin as Poins, David Semark as Vernon, David Shelley as Sheriff/Surrey, Robin Soans as Shallow, Tafline Steen as Tearsheet/Lady Percy, and Perry Williams as Page/Douglas/Thomas.

“It’s a genuine honour to work with one of our greatest Shakespearean actors, Ian McKellen, especially as he tackles one of the most iconic Shakespearean roles—and one he's previously never turned his hand to," Icke said in a previous statement. "It’s an exciting challenge to bring together two of Shakespeare’s plays into one production, and I’m so excited to share Player Kings with audiences in the West End and across the country."

Player Kings features design by Hildegard Bechtler, lighting by Lee Curran, sound by Gareth Fry, casting by Julia Horan and fighting design by Kev McCurdy. The creative team is completed by associate costume designer Johanna Coe, hair and make-up designer Susanna Peretz, and associate directors Jack Bradfield and Lizzie Manwaring.

At every performance in each of the three venues there will be 8,000 tickets made available for £30 or under to encourage the attendance of those under 30. These tickets, which will be distributed throughout the auditorium on all levels, will be available to purchase online and in advance.

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