Ian McKellen is returning to Shakespeare with a new stage adaptation of "Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2". Robert Icke will adapt and direct McKellen as John Falstaff in the production, Player Kings, which comes to the West End in spring 2024.

The show combines these two great Shakespeare history plays, which together depict a turbulent time in a divided England. Prince Hal must learn how to be king--but does that mean leaving his friends, like the hard-partying Falstaff, behind?

The production had previews at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 1-9 March and Manchester Opera House on 14-23 March, before playing a 12-week run at the Noel  Coward Theatre in the West End from 1 April-22 June 2024.

Ian McKellen commented: "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 favourite Shakespeares, although through the years I've resisted offers to play John Falstaff. Robert Icke's ingenious adaptation was irresistible."

Robert Icke said: "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. 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."

The creative team for Player Kings features set design by Hildegard Bechtler, lighting design by Lee Curran, sound design by Gareth Fry, casting by Julia Horan, and fight direction by Kev McCurdy.

The Cast

Ian McKellen is Falstaff
ToheebJimoh (Ted Lasso, Romeo and Juliet) as Hal
Richard Coyle (Ink, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore) as King Henry IV

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

Photos by Manuel Harlan
Ian McKellen in rehearsal for PLAYER KINGS
Geoffrey Freshwater (Bardolph) and Mark Monero (Peto) in rehearsal for PLAYER KINGS
Richard Coyle in rehearsal for PLAYER KINGS
Toheeb Jimoh and Ian McKellen in rehearsal for PLAYER KINGS
Ian McKellen and Toheeb Jimoh in rehearsal for PLAYER KINGS
David Semark (Vernon), Alice Hayes (Messenger, Carrier), Henry Jenkinson (Harcourt), Sara Beharrell (Hotspur's Servant, Snare, Davy)
Hywel Morgan (Sir Walter Blunt), Annette McLaughlin (Warwick, Westmorland) and Joseph Mydell (Lord Chief Justice)
James Garnon (Worcester, Silence)
Joseph Mydell, David Semark, Sara Beharrell, Alice Hayes, Henry Jenkinson, Tafline Steen and Mark Monero
Nigel Lister (Northumberland, Francis) and Robert Icke (Director)
Richard Coyle (King Henry IV)
Samuel Edward Cook (Hotspur, Pistol)
Toheeb Jimoh (Hal) and Robert Icke (director)