The show was to have played the Barbican Nov. 11-15. A statement on the BITE website read: "Having now had the opportunity to attend early performances of Henry IV Part One in New York, we do not feel that it is appropriate for inclusion in the Barbican's programme. We have taken this decision very reluctantly, however we are confident that it is right in this particular instance." The Barbican made no mention of the play's critical or popular reception. The Barbican has in the past presented other Maxwell productions, though ones of his own authorship, including House and Boxing 2000. Indeed, since breaking out as a hip downtown artist in 1999, Maxwell has been a mainstay of the international theatre circuit, his work playing dates in various capitals.
Henry IV, Part One ran at BAM Sept. 30-Oct. 4. The play represented a rare foray into the classics for Maxwell, who usually writes and directs his own material. His uniquely strange works have regularly been described as emotionless, benumbed, deadpan, absurd and comic. Maxwell's approach was no different for Shakespeare. Actors spoke in a monotone, blocking was minimal and the setting rudimentary. Reports had large portions of the audience streaming out of the auditorium. Critics were particularly brutal in their assessment of Maxwell's approach, Variety calling it "risibly bad Shakespeare."