Bring Up The Bodies – January 2014

Experience: 8/10

Adapted by Mike Poulton from the novel by Hilary Mantel

Directed by Jeremy Herrin

Venue: Swan Theatre

Date: Thursday 23rd January 2014

My experiment with these novels and plays has borne fruit. While Steve, not having read the books at all, would have rated this play slightly higher than me, I found the lack of background knowledge a hindrance for the first half, and although I picked up the threads quite quickly, the brisk pace left me feeling unsatisfied – I was too aware that there was a lot of detail missing and as I haven’t yet read the novel, I wasn’t privy to Cromwell’s inner thoughts. The final stage of the experiment will be to read Bring Up The Bodies and see what that feels like now that I’ve seen the play.

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Wolf Hall – January 2014

Experience: 8/10

Adapted by Mike Poulton from the novel by Hilary Mantel

Directed by Jeremy Herrin

Venue: Swan Theatre

Date: Monday 20th January 2014

Knowing these adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s work were coming up, I chose to read Wolf Hall before seeing the plays, and intend to read Bring Up The Bodies afterwards. I wanted to get a sense of how the dramatization had changed the novel’s interpretation, and to understand what it’s like to see a play when I’ve already read the book. Of course, that assumed I would finish Wolf Hall, and at one point I thought I might abandon the book altogether – the middle third was tedious compared to the opening section – but fortunately some friends advised me to persevere. The final section picked up tempo and left us with a tantalising ending, so how would reading the book beforehand affect my experience of the play?

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