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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Changeling, Southwark Playhouse

The Changeling is a tale of passion, of love and hate, desire and vengeance. In the coming months two productions of Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's play are showcasing on London stages. I saw the first, the smaller of the two shows last week, a very impressive first offering from the Production Works company at the Southwark Playhouse.

There is little narrative to understand, basically a whole lot of sex and murder, and with the substantial cuts these aspects are emphasised even more. The lead couple are sizzling hot... Fiona Hampton has an evil sparkle in her eyes as the wicked and beautiful Beatrice-Joanna and David Caves is fabulously animalistic as the hunk, De Flores. The chemistry between them is electric, to mix a metaphor.

The young Rob Heaps as Alsemero and James Northcote as Alonzo de Piracquo also give notable performances really exerting themselves in this demanding piece. There is a slightly lacklustre performance from Jonathan Benda as the father, Vermandero, his reactions are rather vacant and he seems reticent to portray sorrow or happiness.

Little known director, Michael Oakley should be commended on his exciting and unique adaptation of this famous play. His use of voice-overs for the frequent asides is brilliantly utilised and makes the whole production very expressive and affecting.

This is a firecracker show, an experimental but enthralling portrayal of a classic English Renaissance play. The Production Works are certainly a theatre company to watch.

The Changeling continues until 26 November, book here.

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