The Spanish Tragedy Arcola Theatre 24 October



Why then Ile fit you.  Hieronimo’s mad againe (from The Waste Land) was all I knew or thought I knew about this play.  And in fact neither of these phrases occurred in this production, though the second one seems to be the subtitle (as above).

Anyway, the audience outnumbered the actors but not by too much, and it was all rather a mess, especially in the first half.  The layout of Arcola’s Studio 1, with the playing area in between two facing sections of seating made the frequent exits and entrances rather tedious.  Also there wasn’t anything I recognised as poetry, but both of these points seem to be explained by the text having been extensively cut.


A roller shutter door

Director Mitchell Moreno felt the desire to do some Katie-Mitchell-up-and-over-garage-door stuff, and the door also served as a screen for some video projection.  And the Viceroy of Portugal making his speech to camera and then it’s screened in the manner of news footage–we’ve had this in the National’s Henry V and lots of other places surely…

Then I had the thought that acting was the same as swimming: if you don’t have confidence in the water or play, you thrash your limbs about and get into all kinds of trouble.  Well, the ten-year-old Kitty Oliphant as Revenge did a very good job, keeping her arms by her sides and producing an impressively affectless delivery (maybe she did just a little squint at the end of her nose with the effort of remembering her lines).  Dominic Rowan as Hieronimo was impressive in patches–especially when his arms formed the sides of a triangle, focusing attention on his face–and Keith Bartlett was more than competent as the King of Spain.

Apart from that, rather a lot of floundering.  And definite confusion when (for instance) the speeches in the play-within-a-play were given in Latin, Greek, Italian and French after Hieronymo had provided an explanation for the audience hearing then in English.

Strange that Hieronimo finally decided on revenge after consulting the Penguin Classics edition of Catullus…

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One Response to “The Spanish Tragedy Arcola Theatre 24 October”

  1. 2 for 1 tickets for The Spanish Tragedy (Arcola Theatre) « Notes of an idealist Says:

    […] Notes of an idealist What I feel like writing about « The Spanish Tragedy Arcola Theatre 24 October […]

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