The Witch Of Edmonton – October 2014

Experience: 7/10

By William Rowley, Thomas Dekker, John Ford, and possibly others.

Edited and directed by Gregory Doran

Venue: Swan Theatre

Date: Tuesday 28th October 2014

We missed the RSC’s previous Witch as we weren’t coming regularly to Stratford at the time, so this production was one we were very keen to see. This final part of the Roaring Girls season – Greg was accepted as an honorary ‘Roaring Girl’ by the other (female) directors – was the only one to be done in Jacobean dress, which made a pleasant change from the persistent updating in the other three productions. Modern dress or similar is fine, but we agreed with Greg’s point in the pre-show talk about the risk of not allowing the audience to make their own connections to present-day circumstances, something clearly not considered often enough by many directors today.

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The Roaring Girl – May 2014

Experience: 7/10

By Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton

Directed by Jo Davies

Venue: Swan Theatre

Date: Tuesday 27th May 2014

It’s over thirty years since we saw the previous RSC production of this play, and for all that it starred Helen Mirren in the title role, I can’t remember a thing about it. Those were early days in my Jacobethan immersion, so the unfamiliar language, odd characters and many and varied plot twists would have been harder to follow. Now that I’m much more conversant with the genre, I hoped I would find the plot easier to grasp, and it was indeed a much more rewarding experience. The language still caught me out a bit, mind you, so I’ll be keen to read the text before we see it again, but the production itself was very good fun, and it was lovely to see a number of the usual suspects back again for another season.

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