Thursday, 6 September 2012
Theatre review: Mary Stuart
The company have made the best of a fairly soulless venue in a stripped-down production on a bare black stage, with a hard metallic look to the props and modern-dress costumes (no designer is credited.) Some of the clothes have a bit of an '80s feel and I liked the witty little visual references making modern suits echo Elizabethan clothing. Derval Mellett's Mary is the stoical martyr figure, aware from the start of the play that her execution is a possibility, calm in her religious convictions and insisting right to the end that she never personally approved the terrorist attacks made in her name. Kate Sawyer's Thatcheresque Elizabeth on the other hand is under constant assault both from the various recommendations of her courtiers, who each has his own agenda, and from her own moral conflict surrounding her cousin and rival: She desperately wants Mary dead and gone, but to approve the execution would be regicide, a crime she fears having attached to her name forever. She's willing to go to pretty devious lengths to get what she wants without technically getting blood on her hands.
Mary Stuart by Friedrich Schiller, in a version by Mark Leipacher and Daniel Millar, is booking until the 22nd of September at the New Diorama Theatre; then touring to Buxton, Kendal, Dulwich and Qatar.
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes including interval.