Rivalry and adultery in a royal modern classic

Anne Bowen (Eleanor of Acquitaine) and Rose Kenny (Princess Alais). Picture: Lewis Brazier
Anne Bowen (Eleanor of Acquitaine) and Rose Kenny (Princess Alais). Picture: Lewis Brazier

A modern classic based on the live of Henry II comes to the Priory Theatre in Kenilworth this month.

The Lion in Winter, by James Goldman, will be performed at the venue from Monday May 23 to Saturday May 28, directed by John Evans and Susi Walker.

The play centres on the personal and political conflicts of Henry II of England, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their children and guests during Christmas at Chinon in 1183.

Sibling rivalry and adultery abound in a play which tells the story of the Plantagenet family who are locked in a free-for-all of competing ambitions to inherit a kingdom.

Kevin Coughlan as Henry II and Anne Bowen as Eleanor play the tempestuous couple, ably supported by the trio playing their three remaining sons, Dan Gough as Richard the Lionheart, Ben Wellicome as Prince Geoffrey and newcomer to the Priory, Henri West as Prince John.

Rose Kenny plays Princess Alais, Henry’s young mistress and half sister to King Philip of France, played by Nathan Lloyd.

The Lion in Winter, described as a dramatic comedy, first opened on Broadway in 1966 with Robert Preston as Henry and Rosemary Harris as Eleanor.

More recently, a 2011 London revival saw these parts being taken by Robert Lindsay and Joanna Lumley.

It was also an Oscar winning film starring Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn.

Director Susi Walker said: “As Queen Eleanor says, ‘every family has its up and downs’ and this royal family is no exception. The audience will connect to every character, even though the time period is seemingly far away.”

Tickets start at £8. Visit www.priorytheatre.co.uk or call 0333 666 3366 to book.