The Arts Desk
“Not exactly gripping...” He tries to sex it up – we first see the duplicitous mistress Julia as she is vigorously pleasuring the Cardinal, and Eve Best as the titular heroine makes one entrance backlit in a diaphanous shift – but mostly his touches are rather tentative..
“Sinister and dimly lit...” 11. The emotional and psychological tone of the production meshes well with the visual aspect, but it is the feel that needs to dictate the look. Snow falls onstage for much of the second half, but this should not be a cold play...
“An impetuous and full-hearted portrayal...” Eve Best surges across the stage, bursting at the seams of the play, and her own white shift. And Jamie Lloyd doesn’t once let us off lightly...
“This magnificent revival will delight as much as shock and surprise...” The play develops as a feast of rich and supple poetry, with fantastic theatrical imagery. And finally we are left, like the Duchess, thoroughly gob-smacked, garrotted and gasping for air...
“A revival that delights in the original's language and period setting...” The chief pleasure lies in encountering a production that, for all its incense-laden atmosphere, allows Webster's aphoristic poetry to do its vital work...
“A disappointment...” Lloyd's under-energised production fails to utilise sustain any vigour, and gets off to a depressing start with a generalised masked ball where the corrupt Renaissance court shows itself off in a stately – and here rather lifeless – pavane...
“This show impresses from the off...” Lloyd's production embraces Webster's vision, faults and all, a bleakly grandiose spectacle lent tender humanity by Best's terrific turn...
“A superbly effective piece of theatre...” Eve 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...
“When it tries to be sexy it doesn’t satisfy...” In many ways this is a traditional production, honouring its period setting. Its moments of gravity are signaled a little clumsily but the general air of portentousness is redeemed by Eve Best, who is superb...