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February 9, 2014

WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES in the Swan Theatre at the RSC are just under six hours of gripping drama. The plays are Act I and Act II of the story of King Henry VIII’s Court with Anne Boleyn told through the life of Thomas Cromwell. I was left with a thirst for Acts III, IV, V and so on which is a good idea if Hilary Mantel writes the novels and Mike Poulton adapts them for the stage because good writing is the firm foundation of these productions. These plays feel like a Shakespeare history yet with the added advantage of being in a more contemporary English which makes more easy to digest.

Jeremy Herrin presents us with a concrete and metallic designed stripped stage populated by actors in sumptuous costumes in a seamless flow of scenes. The structure feels more like a movie than a play yet it works wonderfully. Every actor on this stage deserves an award for outstanding performances. I felt I really knew the characters. I already love Ben Miles and he gave such empathy to Thomas Cromwell. Lydia Leonard gave a great very believable performance as Anne Boleyn. My favourite performance was Nathanial Parker’s King Henry VIII where I had a real feeling for the transformation of both the man and the crown in his performance.

These plays will run again and again and again.



From → Theatre

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