Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Read Not Dead at Gray's Inn

A pretty hall, this … “ A welcome return visit to the historic Gray's Inn, after this summer's stylish Comedy of Errors.
This Beaumont and Fletcher was first published 400 years ago. It's almost entirely forgotten now, but for many years it was a staple of the comedy repertoire; Sam Pepys was a fan; he saw it several times, both with an actress in the title role and in the original version with a cast of boys.
It was done by one of the very profession children's companies, who boasted among their number specialists in old men [and women], young lovers and everything in between.
The piece was also a favourite with amateur actors, so it was appropriate that this staged reading featured members of the Inn embedded in the cast of players from Shakespeare's Globe. Most notably High Court Judge Sir Michael Burton relishing the role of Abigail - “sweet bratch”, ageing and lecherous maidservant to the Lady in question [Emma Denly]. Sighing, chewing the cud – a posset – he won over his audience with practised ease. As did the “talking nightcap”, Sir Roger the curate [Roger Eastman].

Flighty wenches, merry companions, Savil the Steward [kin to Malvolio], the Loveless brothers [Alex Mugnaioni and James Askill], a cross-dressing suitor [Robert Heard], a trio of hangers-on – a rich cast of characters in a complex, and rather long, intrigue of misogyny, deceit and sexual politics, directed by Read Not Dead regular James Wallace.

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