Thursday, 4 December 2014

Review: ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore, Sam Wanamaker

“I must speak or burst”

Short and sweet cos it is in the last week and I’m running out of time… the Globe’s production of John Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore got the kind of publicity money can’t buy when TfL banned their posters for being overtly sexual (in a way that David Gandy’s underwear ads are apparently not) but it was sufficiently good a piece of theatre that one imagines it would most likely have sold out the candlelit atmosphere of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse regardless.

Michael Longhurst navigates the complex plot expertly to give us a clear-sighted view of what is going on but completely free from judgement, even as the goings-on are pretty scandalous. Annabella and Giovanni are fiercely in love, a passion that gets her pregnant – only small catch is that they are siblings with varying motivation. And the society around them that bubbles with hypocrisy and sexuality also has its complexity portrayed – there’s good and evil in us all, it’s just about what you can resist.

Not that there’s much resisting though. From the irrepressible clowning of James Garnon’s Bergetto to the vehement villainry of Stefano Braschi’s Soranzo – both of whom are chasing the hand of Annabella – the rivalries and seductions at hand are just endless. And as Soranzo wins, he brings with him more layers of complexity with Philip Cumbus as his scheming servant Vasquez and Noma Dumezweni – in properly scintillating form – as his conniving ex-lover who loves a twisty plot as much as any of the men.

Fiona Button and Max Bennett make an appealing central couple too – her wilful but innate goodness far too attractive to his tempestuous, lust-filled temperament that can never seem to think beyond the next roll in the hay. Longhurst uses the candlelight brilliantly in the midst of Alex Lowde’s set design, hiding things as often as showing them, and in the shadowy recesses of human nature as shown here, that’s no bad thing at all.

Running time: 3 hours (with interval)
Booking until 7th December


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