By Lawrence Frascella
Updated August 08, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

(Through Aug. 10) This year, Shakespeare in the Park has traded its summer-reading approach to the Bard — epitomized by 2002’s water-slide rendition of Twelfth Night — for welcome grit and relevance. Henry V follows a frat-boy prince-turned-king who wages a possibly unjust war to, at least in part, prove himself a leader. (Sound familiar?) Director Mark Wing-Davey sets a tantalizingly ambiguous tone that allows us to draw our own conclusions about Henry’s power plays: His ideas can be incisive — a meeting of Henry’s three-piece-suited cabinet underscores the concept of government as corporation — but they can also be a whopping distraction (the Monty Python-like use of cast members as horses). Luckily, Liev Schreiber’s poised and complex Henry cuts a sharp line through the clutter. (212-539-8750)