Azincourt

This play is about the battle of Agincourt, but from an unusual perspective, that of the boys who were employed to haul the King’s baggage. The author’s research has shown that there were many boys accompanying the English troops. Apart from the baggage boys, there were boys of the Chapel Royal who had to sing mass four times a day and sang during the battle itself. Also, most of the knights in the army brought young pages with them, often sons or nephews, to look after their armour and act as personal servants. The big advantage, of course, of having a play where virtually all the characters are young is that the casting is much more realistic; there is no need for the suspension of belief required when children play adult parts. Not that the boys in Henry’s army are in every way the same as boys today. Childhood in those days ended at a very early age and these are very much working boys, who have seen death and disease and are aware of the dangers of battle. There is even talk of one boy who has been hanged for stealing, and there is, in fact, quite a lot of death in this play.Most of the accompanying music has been newly written for this production but sounds authentic for the period. As the composer himself says, there are no show-stoppers but it is all very enjoyable.The acting is very good throughout. The boys manage to make their characters seem very real and make us care about them. Some of the solo singing is perhaps a little variable, but the choral parts are sung well. All in all, a clever idea and well put together.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

History Boys

★★★★

Dracula

★★

Cherry Orchard

★★★★

Azincourt

★★★★

Secret Garden

★★★★

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The Blurb

Azincourt', the new musical from Jeremy James Taylor, seven times Fringe First winner. Extraordinary, dramatic, graphic, moving story, recounting events at the battle seen through the eyes of Henry's baggage-boys. Cast of 10-13 year olds from Willington School. Perfect family entertainment.

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