Anne Boleyn – November 2013 – Bath Chronicle

Rondo Theatre, Larkhall, Bath
Setting the scene and style as the play opens Anne ( Alex Oliviere-Davis, superb and attention grabbing) plays straight to the audience, producing her own decapitated head teasingly from a bag.
Following is Howard Brenton’s version ( history is always somebody else’s version ) of her rise and fall seen from her marriage to Henry VIII to the effect on James I sixty years later.
Sometimes a vulgar romp, sometimes an almost serious account of the religious conflict with Rome, Tyndale and the new form of Bible, but almost always with an eye for the humour.
Steve Huggins is a wonderful twitching, cross-dressing, lascivious, drinking but knife sharp James I while Nic Proud excels as the dispassionate fixer Cromwell, all seeing . all knowing and sinister.
This is history as we’d wished it to be taught at school : passionate, flesh and blood characters with plenty of wit. Having waded through Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, seeing this first would have saved a lot of time and stayed longer in the memory. The set is simple, the costumes sumptuous and the production bowls along with the cast playing their parts to the hilt.
Well done The Rondo for something new, different and really worth seeing.
Philip Horton

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