Player Kings
Paperback, 144 pages ISBN: 9781839043581Publication Date:
2 May 2024
Size: 198mm x 129mm£11.99 £9.59You save £2.40 (20%)
Ebook, 144 pages ISBN: 9781788508070Publication Date:
2 May 2024
£11.99 £9.59You save £2.40 (20%)
First Staged:
Noël Coward Theatre, West End, 2024

Player Kings

Shakespeare's Henry IV Parts 1 & 2

By William Shakespeare Adapted by Robert Icke

Paperback £11.99£9.59

Ebook £11.99£9.59

On Stage at:
UK tour
From Thu 14 Mar 2024 to Sat 27 Jul 2024
Noel Coward Theatre, West End
From Mon 1 Apr 2024 to Sat 22 Jun 2024

The crown meets the criminals. Welcome to England.

Hal wasn't born to be king. Only now, it seems, he will be. His father longs for him to leave behind his friends in the taverns of Eastcheap, most notably the infamous John Falstaff. War is on the horizon. But will Hal ever come good?

Adapted by award-winning writer and director Robert Icke, Player Kings brings together two of Shakespeare's great history plays, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, in a visionary new version.

It opened at the Noël Coward Theatre, London, in 2024, before embarking on a UK tour. It was directed by Robert Icke, with a cast including Toheeb Jimoh, Richard Coyle and Ian McKellen as Falstaff.

'Robert Icke is the great hope of British theatre' Time Out

Press Quotes

'Robert Icke has an uncanny ability to get to the psychological heart of a classic text. [This is] a terrific take on one of the greatest plays ever written'

Time Out

'A national epic of power-play, racing from tavern to court and field of conflict. It's as propulsive as The Crown... heart-stopping... a must-witness'


'Robert Icke, the neon-intellect, rapid-action director, has spliced together the two separate plays of Henry IV to make an epic portrait... striking and unsentimental... devastating'


'Unforgettable... brings out the subtleties and violence of Shakespeare's plays'

Financial Times

'An incisive and intelligent adaptation... This rich, vivid and visceral version of Shakespeare's Henry IV is at once a skewering of the mythology of Englishness and patriotism, a shrewd overview of the current state of the nation and a piece of premium classical theatre... all conveyed with pin-sharp clarity and an arresting immediacy... Icke delineates the oppositions that Shakespeare set up without labouring the point or simplifying the characters’ complex humanity'

The Stage

'Richly complex and thrilling'


'A luxurious feast... full of verve and pathos... Icke is known for his thrilling reinventions or rewrites of classics. Here he neatly streamlines the patriarchal power struggles of part I, by turns raucous and violent, then prunes the waffling jokes and rueful diminuendo of part II... He makes clear how these plays speak to our times'

Evening Standard

'Icke brings his usual immediacy and accessibility to Shakespeare's story'


'Inventive and entertaining... It showcases Falstaff's relationship with Prince Hal but leaves intact the frame of the play'

Arts Desk

'Marvellous... connects comedy to drama with absolute precision... dramatic intensity topped off with a wonderful coup de théâtre... power and poignancy'

Reviews Hub

'Assured... Icke introduces some masterful interventions – one towards the end of act one bringing forth audible gasps from the audience'


'Captivating... a great Shakespeare adaptation with plenty of modern twists'

Theatre Weekly

'Extraordinary... Robert Icke has taken Shakespeare's two Henry IV plays and fused them into an epic thriller... like bingeing a moreish Netflix drama... a lucid telling of a knotty story... Long may Icke reign'

London Theatre

'Iconoclastic... a streamlined but full-bodied adaptation... Four hundred years old, Shakespeare's history plays conjure spine tingling new force for the 21st century'

Broadway World

'Robert Icke has done it again... he shows once more his talent for creating bold adaptations that are masterfully larger than life in their intensity and drama... Player Kings is an epic that lasts well over three hours and still has the audience gripped and wanting more'

The Upcoming

'Magnificent... an intelligent, fast-paced modern take... wonderful'

Paperback,144 pages ISBN: 9781839043581Publication Date:
2 May 2024
Size: 198mm x 129mm£11.99 £9.59You save £2.40 (20%)
Ebook,144 pages ISBN: 9781788508070Publication Date:
2 May 2024
£11.99 £9.59You save £2.40 (20%)

Also by William Shakespeare:

The Winter's Tale
The Merry Wives of Windsor
All's Well That Ends Well
Shakespeare on Theatre
The Winter's Tale
Much Ado About Nothing
Edward III
Queen Margaret
Richard III
Henry IV Part I
Twelfth Night
Measure for Measure
Thomas More
As You Like It
The Tempest
Julius Caesar
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet
Much Ado About Nothing
Henry IV Part II
Henry V
King Lear

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Also by Robert Icke:


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