James Goldman’s comedy is set in 1183.
It is Christmas in Chinon (France) and Henry II has invited to the festivities his wife, Eleanor, who he has kept in the dungeon for the last 10 years. She is only let out ‘for the holidays’, and in the castle of Chinon she will meet Henry’s mistress, Princess Alais and her younger brother, King Philip of France (who wants her married or her dowry back) and Henry’s three surviving sons. Richard (later to be Richard the Lionheart), Geoffrey and the youngest John (also to be king) constantly squabble, bicker and bully in order to succeed Henry who with gout and a bad back is
‘……. the oldest man I know. I’ve got a decade on the Pope’.
The action was fast moving, the dialogue slick and the comedy came thick and fast.
Who got the beautiful Alais? Who inherited the throne of England? Was Eleanor sent back to her castle? Was Henry undone at last? A programme costing a mere £2 helped the audience answer these questions, and much more!