BritishTheatre

Published on

July 31, 2014

REVIEW: Wolf Hall / Bring Up The Bodies, Aldwych Theatre ✭✭✭✭✭

By

stephencollins

Wolf-Hall

Wolf Hall/Bring Up The Bodies Aldwych Theatre 28 and 29 July 2014 5 Stars Now well into its West End transfer, the Royal Shakespeare Company's exhilarating production of Mike Poulton's adaptation of Hilary Mantel's twin Booker prize winners, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, continues to enchant, entertain and enlighten.

In many ways, the productions, helmed by Jeremy Herrin, are in crisper, more visceral and thrilling form than when first seen in Stratford. The shift to a proscenium arch stage has not dulled or detracted.

Ben Miles has developed acres of intricate detail in and around his central, star turn as Thomas Cromwell. He almost never leaves the stage and while on it commands it effortlessly. The sense of the simmering anger of the former Blacksmith's Boy is ever present, perfectly aligned with the calculating political mind and the sense of duty and loyalty. The twinkle of comedy he adds provides stimulating zest.

Paul Jesson is now completely relaxed and pitch-perfect as Wolsey, equal part grandee and low-born made good. The tone of the his performance is now spot on.

Replacing Joshua James as Cromwell's protege, Rafe Sadler, is Joshua Silver (was the Christian name Joshua a pre-requisite for casting?) and he has a key advantage over James: physically, he could be a young Miles, so the sense of Mini-Me is ever present and that is for the better. Silver has a winning, cool and observant presence and he is, in equals parts, steel and sympathy.

The rest of the cast provide the same, detailed and intriguing performances as before, although in almost every case there is an assurance, a confidence and a depth which resonates and adds to the overall effect.

Only Matthew Pidgeon (Bishop Gardiner) and Nicholas Day (Duke of Norfolk) stray unfortunately into overblown bluster and goggling-eyed ham - everyone else provides finely honed, believable performances, many of them handling multiple roles. The women in the cast are especially wonderful.

In most respects, it is better and more vibrant, more deftly detailed, than it was in Stratford Upon Avon. It's an unrivalled spectacle of theatrical ingenuity.

Go. Just go.

Book tickets to Wolf Hall at the Aldywch Theatre Book Tickets for Bring Up The Bodies  at the Aldwych Theatre Read Stephen's original review for Wolf Hall / Bring Up The Bodies at the RSC

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The British Theatre website has been established to celebrate the rich and diverse theatrical culture of the United Kingdom.  Our ethos revolves around encouraging and nurturing the performing arts in all its forms. The spirit of theatre is very much alive and the British Theatre website is at the forefront of delivering news and information to audiences and enthusiasts everywhere. Our team of theatre journalists and reviewers are working hard to cover productions and news.


We are constantly developing the site and are always open to receiving feedback from our readers. Join our mailing list to be kept informed of all the latest news that is of interest to you..

ABOUT BRITISHTHEATRE

BritishTheatre.com
Opening Night Media Ltd
3rd Floor, 80 St. Martin’s Lane
Covent Garden
London WC2N 4AA

The British Theatre website has been established to celebrate the rich and diverse theatrical culture of the United Kingdom.  Our ethos revolves around encouraging and nurturing the performing arts in all its forms. The spirit of theatre is very much alive and the British Theatre website is at the forefront of delivering news and information to audiences and enthusiasts everywhere. Our team of theatre journalists and reviewers are working hard to cover productions and news.


We are constantly developing the site and are always open to receiving feedback from our readers. Join our mailing list to be kept informed of all the latest news that is of interest to you..