Duchess Of Malfi
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Top Customer Reviews
It is also a ferociously demanding piece of theater, full of complex speeches, strange reversals, and extravagant stage effects. For this reason, it is seldom performed. Your odds of seeing it in the U.S. are only slightly better than those of meeting the author.
Though neither the distributor (Stage On Screen) nor the dramatic company (Greenwich Theatre, London) were known to me, I bought this DVD blind because I knew that, however uneven the production might be, this was likely to be my only chance of ever seeing this great play performed.
I slowly realized that I was watching a marvelously spoken, intelligently staged, and professionally recorded production performed in front of a live audience.
The Duchess is played magnificently by a statuesque redhead (Aslin McGuckin) who accomplishes the difficult task of projecting the nobility-in-suffering Webster apparently intended this character to embody. In counterpoint to this, the tool villain Bosola (Tim Treloar)delivers his character's soliloquies with fine shadings of melancholy and outrage. And the hedonistic Cardinal (Mark Hatfield) is full of energy, delighted at this own corruption. While all of the actors are well cast, these three have voices as supple and distinctive as musical instruments.
This production relies on a combination of minimal, all-black sets (outlines, really), colorful costumes which suggest the period, and sharp contrasts in lighting to create dramatic effects.Read more ›
This production of Webster's tragedy is boosted by the great performance of Aislin McGuckin in the title role. Her Duchess is playful when courting Antonio, strong in defiance of her brothers and beautifully controlled in the emotional latter stages of the play. The rest of the cast are very good too although I did find that sometimes they spoke very quickly (the director's decision?) and some of the words were lost. The subtitles helped here.
I've always felt that the play should naturally end after Act 4, especially since the fifth and final act is a bit over the top for modern tastes. It is hard (as with some Shakespeare) for the tragedy not to turn to farce, but on the whole this production manages to maintain the atmosphere to the end, thanks mainly to a strong performance from Tim Treloar playing Bosola.
I am delighted that Stage on Screen are filming stage performances of some of the classic plays that people outside the big cities rarely get a chance to see and I hope they continue. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having seen the play many years ago, I can say that it lacks the electricity of great Shakespeare. The last scene, in which the Duchess is garroted by her brothers goes on -- and... Read morePublished on March 5, 2013 by Matthew Held
i felt it was a fine job--but the `1972 version though deeply cut--is more powerful but I would urge everyone to see this. It is a remarkable play a very great playPublished on January 17, 2013 by Jack Cade