Speaking Like Magpies

Previewed 14 February 2006, opened 15 February 2006, closed 25 February 2006 at the Trafalgar Studios in London

But I can hear them speaking like magpies, And they mean to thieve his life, The Lord's anointed servant, They mean to kill God.

Speaking Like Magpies is a new play by Frank McGuinness that deals with the background to the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Speaking Like Magpies was specially commissioned by The Royal Shakespeare Company for the Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon where it was performed from September to November 2005.

"After kicking off with a very big bang, Frank McGuinness's account of the 1605 gunpowder conspiracy steadily fizzles out before losing the plot altogether. The Irishman's big problem, in a play crowning the RSC's Gunpowder season, is how to tell a story which, as he admits at the beginning, 'we know the ending of'. His answer is to approach the event obliquely, thereby telling hardly any story at all... The result may be clever, but it pulls few surprises." The Daily Mail

"It starts with not one coup de theatre but three... But McGuinness's play is frivolous about terrorism, superficial about fundamentalism, and never once psychologically convincing: it's just a series of effects. Rupert Goold directs. Those initial coups de theatre work brilliantly, but after that he is straining just to keep the drama as lucid as Guinness's over-flashy writing will allow." The Financial Times