Review: Duchess of Malfi

The Duchess of Malfi. Pic: Comp
The Duchess of Malfi. Pic: Comp
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THE Duchess of Malfi is Jacobean skulduggery at it’s finest. Written by John Webster in 1613, the play is still as fresh, taboo and shocking as it was the day it was first performed.

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Relating the sorry tale of the Duchess and her futile bid for independence from her scheming brothers’ insanity, the play is based on the life of Italian noblewoman Giovanna D’Aragona.

In the hands of The Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group, The Duchess of Malfi is a mixed bag.

Director Sarah-Jane McGeachy displays a fine understanding of the material and adds some lovely touches to enhance the underlying symbolism of the story.

A little more work on the opening pacing and positioning of characters, however, may have given the production a punchier start.

David Grimes’ conflicted, duplicitous manservant Bosola was humanely portrayed with beautiful delivery of the script, a character the audience could genuinely identify with in spite of his later sadistic brutality.

Thomas Timms’ Cardinal could have hailed from the Graham Norton school of ecclesiastical acting but was all the better for it, emanating a sleazy air, while Oliver Trotter’s Ferdinand descended gracefully into all out insanity.

Caroline Ramos and Gregor Haddow as the Duchess and Antonio, were well paired as fated lovers.

Run ended