The Revenger's Tragedy

Thu 5th – Sat 7th December 2013

reviews

Emily Brearley-Bayliss

at 11:38 on 6th Dec 2013

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3DTC’s rendition of the classic Jacobean drama ‘The Revenger’s Tragedy’ was the perfect mixture of grimly macabre murders, complicated family politics and black, satirical humour. With a death toll to rival the bloodiest of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Edward Cherrie played the part of Vindice with a startling conviction - his barely-repressed anger and longing for revenge was a joy to watch throughout. All of the cast were very adept at handling the language of the play; so many student productions struggle to get to grips with the complex language of drama from this period, but fortunately there performers weren’t fazed. With the exception of one or two moments, where actors tripped over their words in their eagerness, the poetic fluidity of the language was allowed to come through.

The decision to add some modern touches to the play worked overall, though the sudden production of a mobile phone in the second half was slightly incongruous and unnecessary. Scene changes were backed by a medley of chart music, which served to add to the sense of excess and debauchery that surrounds the house of the Duke (Philippe Bosher). Pegah Moradi was mysterious, dangerous and vulnerable as the Duchess, embarking on an affair with her stepson Spurio (Iain Stewart).

The dichotomy between the blood and violence of the murders and the comedy that comes from dramatic irony and witty, well-delivered lines was very well negotiated. The theme of masks and putting on a face that is not your own that runs throughout the play was expertly conveyed by the minimalist use of props. A skull wearing grotesque make-up and the masks in which the Vindice and Hippolito carry out the murder of Lussurioso were all that was needed to make this point. The large amount of scenes that required only one or two actors to be on stage at a time meant that each and every performer needed to get it right. The soliloquies were all well delivered, but special credit must be given to Bosher, as his speech gave depth and gravity to a previously average character.

Overall this messy and complex drama was done justice by 3DTC’s cast and crew. A minimalist set and lighting techniques meant that the focus was put on the performances of the actors, who all did a great job. A few slip-ups and the unnecessary modernisation of the production were minor problems compared to the effect of the play as a whole.

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Comments

Phillipe Bosher; 6th Dec 2013; 11:43:34

Thanks for your kind review! Just so you know, my name was spelled incorrectly in the programme, so your misspelling is understandable. - Phillipe :)

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