Monday, 7 May 2012

Anne Boleyn

 Anne Boleyn starts with members of the cast coming into the  chat to the audience, and swiftly moves on to Anne herself (or rather, her ghost) displaying her own severed head to the audience. What follows is fast moving, often very funny, and thought provoking.

King James I, a camp, twitchy, and at times terrifyingly astute Scot, arrives in London to take the throne following Elizabeth I's death - he is dealing with disputes between different religious sects and becomes interested in Anne Boleyn, finding her (protestant!) prayer book in an old chest. We then flash back to the events of her life, and death.

Anne is portrayed as a very witty, principled woman, motivated by her strong protestant views and support for William Tyndale, seeing her relationship with the King as an opportunity to make England into a Protestant country.

The play manages to portray the frightening and often dangerous flavour of life in 16th Century England without ever losing its light touch, and the frequent asides to, and knowing nods toward the audience work very well (When Anne finally (after 7 years) gives in to Henry's persistent attempts to seduce her she turns to the audience. "There will now be a fifte.. twenty minute interval"...)

A very strong cast, in a very good play. I thoroughly enjoyed my evening out, and am looking froward to seeing 'Henry V' which is on in 2 weeks time, and which is also a 'Globe' production, this time touring before, rather than after, a London season.

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