Andrew Mobbs (mobbsy) wrote,
Andrew Mobbs

Just been to see a production of Webster's The Duchess of Malfi at the Arts Theatre.

Fairly good overall, the staging was particularly good, dark looming sets leaning over the stage. It's a tragedy of despair, madness, treachery and death; but I didn't really feel the evil that was meant to be shown. In particular, Ferdinand and the Cardinal didn't convey the impression of being powerful men. The Duchess was for the most part well played, and managed to carry her complex character. Bosola was sometimes very good, but it was an inconsistent performance. Antonio was solid but unexciting, more passive than noble.

The nadir of the performance was in Act V, when Ferdinand's ham-acted insanity and despair attracted more laughs than shivers from the audience. Fortunately this was followed immediately by a superbly chilling scene in the graveyard ruins, with the echos of the dead Duchess haunting Antonio.

So, mixed but enjoyable, I don't regret going by any means. For an amateur production, the cast were talented, but I feel the play was a little too much for some of them.

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