This is Whishaw’s show – no question. He is a force of nature, fiercely unearthing every moment of nuance, humour and purpose from the text and giving a totally committed, undeniably powerful and persuasive performance. Every moment is fascinating, thought through and skilfully played. Dionysius was the God of the theatre, as well as wine, song and dance. Whishaw makes this part of the very fabric of his turn as the vengeful God, and offsets that performance with two remarkable cameos – as Tieresias and the Messenger. He is magical in every way.
James Dacre takes full advantage of the play’s many moods and shifts of emphasis and style, with the result that the evening is rambunctious and thoroughly engaging: something like a political roller-coaster ride. This is a play where it is hard to work out who the real villain might be – there are a number of contenders for that appellation. But the real benefit of Dacre’s production is that the characters get full value, and what rich and rewarding characters they turn out to be.