Posts Tagged ‘Mational Theatre’

This is a long three hours! Unlike his contemporary Shakespeare, Middleton doesn’t have the richness of verse, depth of characterisation or profusion of sub-plots to sustain a long evening. Though there is still a certain resonance today, it’s still surprising that 2nd division Elizabethan fare like this is being revived after almost 400 years.

A bank clerk rather implausibly bags a beautiful rich wife only to find she’s soon ‘requisitioned’ by the Duke. Another beauty is offered in marriage to a fool and abused by her uncle. Her evil aunt colluded with both. Of course, it all ends in tears with an unfeasibly high body count!

The pace of the first 80 minutes really is slow and even though it picks up in the second half, I couldn’t really recover my spirits. 15 minutes before the end it seems like they thought ‘well, we’ve got a lot of plot to cover and lots of people to kill off with little time left, so we’d better get a move on’ because these last 15 minutes are an extraordinary choreographed surreal pageant to jazz accompaniment that seems to come from a different play altogether.

I liked Les Brotherston’s set and costumes, but I’m not sure the jazz ‘soundtrack’ really works and I can’t say any of the performances caught my imagination. We’ve come to expect more from director Marianne Elliott, and I’m afraid I left disappointed.

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