Thursday, 19 June 2008

Review: The Revenger's Tragedy, National Theatre

The Revenger’s Tragedy is a Jacobean revenge play of dubious authorship but these day, attributed to Thomas Middleton. It is set in a decadent Italian court full of moral decay but in Melly Still’s new production here at the Olivier auditorium in the National Theatre, it has taken on a whole new lease of life.

The story is full of backstabbing intrigue and intricate plotting which required a lot of attention. Vindice is our hero of sorts, but he is determined to be revenged on the Duke, as whilst he’s seemingly a fine upstanding type, actually raped and pillaged the fiancée of Vindice a few years back. His home life is a little eventful too, his Duchess is a narcissistic, sexually voracious, hedonist who is lusting after her husband’s bastard son; and their other sons are a motley crew of bad’uns. One of them, the handsome Lussurioso, has decided to buy a lovely young woman from her mother, but she turns out to be the sister of Vindice. Thus, the scene is set for a strange mix of tragedy and comedy as we hurtle to the oh so very bloody climax.

Cast of The Revenger's Tragedy continued

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Review: The Year of Magical Thinking, National Theatre

Based on the memoir of the same name by Joan Didion, recounting a year in the life of the author after the sudden death of her husband and during which her daughter was also taken seriously ill and eventually died, The Year of Magical Thinking is a searching examination of grief and the mourning process

It is painful and at times oddly emotionless: this is mainly due to the analytical nature of the writing. This is no self-indulgent exercise in wallowing but rather a detached examination of the effects of grief. Only occasionally do glimpses of the grieving widow escape, and they are all the more effective for their rarity.