In 2014, Ivo van Hove excited audiences at the Adelaide Festival with Roman Tragedies– his award-winning conflation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Julius Caesarand Antony and Cleopatra.Performed in Dutch with surtitles, it ran an unbroken six hours and yet it kept audiences gripped.

Now, Toneelgroep Amsterdam is returning to Adelaide for the 2018 Festival with Van Hove’s latest Shakespearean epic, Kings of War.Running a mere four hours this time, the production – which is set in a modern war room – joins and distils five Shakespeare plays, Henry V, the three Henry VIplays and Richard III,to create a study of power that has resonated strongly with audiences in Amsterdam, Paris, London and New York.

Kings of War, Adelaide Festival, Ivo van Hove Kings of War. Photo © Jan Versweyveld

Describing it as a “thrilling…cold-eyed, hot-blooded work”, The New York Timessaid: “ Kings of Wartakes the home-viewing pleasures associated with serial television portraits of cutthroat schemers, like those in House of Cardsand The Sopranos,and magnifies them to the proportion of grand opera.”

The Independentin the UK described it as “a coolly penetrating appraisal of political leadership in an age...