Player Kings Tickets
Player Kings: What to expect - 1
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Player Kings: What to expect - 5

Player Kings Tickets

The legendary actor returns to the West End for twelve weeks only.
Production image of Player Kings in London starring Ian McKellen as Falstaff
Production image of Player Kings in London starring ensemble cast.
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Production image of Player Kings in London starring Richard Coyle as Henry.
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Player Kings Tickets

About Player Kings

Don’t miss Sir Ian McKellen as Sir John Falstaff in Player Kings, an exciting new stage version of Shakespeare’s Henry IV: Parts 1 and 2 by celebrated director and adaptor Robert Icke. The play reigns at London’s Noël Coward Theatre for a strictly limited 11-week run — book Player Kings tickets on TodayTix now.

See the multi-award-winning McKellen rule over two great Shakespeare history plays, which together depict a turbulent time in a divided England where leadership is crumbling and war is on the horizon. King Henry IV despairs at his son Prince Hal’s self-indulgent lifestyle, drinking away his future in the inns of Eastcheap. Hal must learn how to be king – but does that mean leaving his friends, especially the hard-partying Falstaff, behind?

The theatrical event of the spring, Player Kings offers the rare opportunity to see one of Britain’s greatest actors take on one of Shakespeare’s most iconic and uproarious roles – an unforgettable mix of a scoundrel, hedonist, father figure, and myth-maker. Book tickets to Player Kings in London on TodayTix.

Run time

3hr 40min. Incl. 1 Interval.

Start date

1st April, 2024

End date

22nd June, 2024


Ages 14+. Please note: Children under the age of 3 will not be admitted. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by and sat next to a ticketholder who is at least 18 years old.

Player Kings: What to expect - 1
Player Kings: What to expect - 2
Player Kings: What to expect - 3
Player Kings: What to expect - 4
Player Kings: What to expect - 5

296 Reviews

Linda 321043

Linda 321043

24 Reviews | 1 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Enchanting

See it if You love Shakespeare and Ian McKellen. An absolutely thrilling performance throughout.

Don’t see it if You don't like Shakespeare

Catherine 352

Catherine 352

100 Reviews | 10 Followers
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Masterful

See it if you are craving for good old theatres. If anything, it’s a bit short (for 2 plays in one) but everything else is good.

Don’t see it if you prefer today’s comedy or musicals. 3.5 hours Shakespeare would be just a sleeping pill for you. Also avoid if cutting script annoys you.



56 Reviews | 4 Followers
Intense, Intelligent, Great acting, Exquisite, Clever

See it if you like Shakespeare, brilliant acting, a complex set of themes and food for thought

Don’t see it if you want to miss out on something special

View all reviews
Production note
This production contains adult themes, gunshots, strobe, haze and smoking of real cigarettes.

Stars on stage

Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen

Player Kings cast and creative team

By: Robert Icke, adapted from Henry IV: Parts 1 and 2 by William Shakespeare
Director: Robert Icke
Cast list: Ian McKellen (as Falstaff)
Design: Hildegard Bechtler
Lighting: Lee Curran
Sound: Gareth Fry
Other info: Fight direction by Kev McCurdy


Noël Coward Theatre

85-88 St Martin's Lane, London, United Kingdom, WC2N 4AU


Location: West End
Railway station: Charing Cross
Bus numbers: (Charing Cross) 24, 29, 176; (Strand) 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 87, 91, 139
Night bus numbers: (Charing Cross) 24, 176, N5, N20, N29, N41, N279; (Strand) 6, 23, 139, N9, N15, N11, N13, N21, N26, N44, N47, N87, N89, N91, N155, N343, N551 Car park: St Martin's Lane Hotel (1min)
Directions from tube: (2mins) Take Cranbourn Street away from Leicester Square until St Martin’s Lane, where you head right until you reach the theatre.

More information about Player Kings

McKellen told BBC News, "I've resisted offers to play John Falstaff [but] Robert Icke's ingenious adaptation was irresistible."

Ian McKellen has played many Shakespearean roles, including Richard III, Coriolanus, and King Lear. His most recent Shakespeare performance was as Hamlet at Theatre Royal, Windsor in 2021. On screen, he is perhaps best known for playing Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. He is a six-time Olivier Award recipient and was Oscar-nominated for Gods and Monsters and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring — not to mention that McKellen has been nominated for all major acting awards. He was knighted in 1991.

Known for his innovative stagings and adaptations of classic plays, Icke became the youngest recipient of an Olivier Award for Best Director for Oresteia in 2016, and he also received Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards. He directed Andrew Scott as Hamlet in a production broadcast by the BBC, and which transferred to New York (with Alex Lawther taking over the lead role). More recently, he received an Evening Standard Theatre Award for The Doctor, which played at the Almeida Theatre, in the West End, on tour, and in Adelaide and New York.

What to watch for

  • Henry IV: Part 2 features the famous line “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
  • Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths, Antony Sher, and Simon Russell Beale all played Falstaff, a plum role for character actors.
  • Falstaff is the star of his own comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor.
  • Falstaff is thought to be inspired by the real-life Sir John Oldcastle, a friend of the future Henry V who was eventually executed for heresy and treason. Another influence is Sir John Falstof, a soldier who fought in the Hundred Years’ War.
  • Ian McKellen first appeared in Henry IV as an undergraduate at Cambridge, playing the ancient Justice Shallow. Derek Jacobi played Hal, and renowned director John Barton staged the production.

Frequently asked questions

What is Player Kings about?

Ian McKellen - 'one of the world's greatest actors' (Times) - plays Falstaff in a new version of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, adapted by the award-winning writer and director Robert Icke.

Which theatre is Player Kings at?

Player Kings is at London's Noël Coward Theatre.

What is the running time of Player Kings?

Player Kings runs for 3hr 40min. Incl. 1 Interval.

What is the age recommendation for Player Kings?

Ages 14+. Please note: Children under the age of 3 will not be admitted. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by and sat next to a ticketholder who is at least 18 years old.

How do you get tickets for Player Kings?

Check the top of this page for current availability and exclusive offers on Player Kings tickets on TodayTix.

Who wrote Player Kings?

Player Kings is by Robert Icke. He created the show by combining William Shakespeare's Henry IV: Parts 1 and 2.

Who directed Player Kings?

Robert Icke directed Player Kings in addition to adapting it.

Is Player Kings appropriate for kids?

Player Kings is recommended for ages 10 and up, but the show is best suited for an adult audience.

Is Player Kings good?

Yes — the talents of the legendary Ian McKellen, who joins forces with an award-winning writer/director working from a time-honored classic, make Player Kings a guaranteed royal hit.

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