The Duchess of Malfi
This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows
The Duchess of Malfi previewed 17 March 2012, opened 28 March 2012, closed 9 June 2012 at the Old Vic Theatre in London
A major revival of John Webster's Jacobean tragedy The Duchess of Malfi starring Eve Best and directed by Jamie Lloyd.
Please note: Contains scenes of a sexual nature and violence.
"Jacobean theatre, with the Catholic threat receding, loved to contemplate the horrors of Romish Europe. John Webster, with Gothic glee, created a Cardinal steeped in lust and espionage, his brother the Duke a pallid psychopath incestuously preoccupied with his widowed sister... The wonder of the play is that against the filthy darkness shines theatre's most wholesome, heroic, high-spirited heroine. Eve Best's Duchess is a perfection of laughing, blooming, sane maturity from her arrival scattering light to her defiant grief and dry humour facing death. She is dignified yet stridingly energetic, touching and humorous in her awkward proposal to the steward Antonio and laughing at her few grey hairs in fulfilled, tousled sexiness as she jokes with him and her maid. In her final terrible travails Best rises to magnificence and her "I am Duchess of Malfi still!" echoes in my ears hours later." The Times
"There is no doubt that John Webster's best play, The Duchess of Malfi, is a superbly effective piece of theatre, mixing jolting shocks and pitch–black comedy with wonderful lines of ominous verse. And in the character of the Duchess, who after marrying her steward is cruelly and ingeniously persecuted by her snobbish brothers and their malcontent henchman Bosola, the play offers one of the greatest of all roles for a classical actress. The great Eve Best seizes all her chances here, giving a thrilling, sexy and often deeply moving performance in Jamie Lloyd's gripping, atmospheric production... Best's great achievement is that she brings a warm, glowing humanity to a play that could easily seem just one damnable thing after another." The Daily Telegraph
"This new production of Webster's great blood-soaked Jacobean tragedy is played out on an impressive Renaissance set of labyrinthine staircases and balconies... It seems a perfect backdrop for the scenes of scheming, corruption, jealousy and bloodshed contained in Webster's greatest drama... And yet Jamie Lloyd's production, while dominated by a powerful central performance by Eve Best, is not without its limitations. While prioritising Webster's poetic language, the director seems to have sacrificed the visceral thrill of some more gory productions and the restraint he imposes, presumably aimed at a less-is-more effect, appears as a reluctance to fully embrace the macabre." The Daily Express
The Duchess of Malfi in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 17 March 2012, opened on 28 March 2012 and closes on 9 June 2012.