‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore: John Ford

'Tis Pity She's a Whore: John Ford

★★★½

(Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe, October-December 2014)

Say what you like about Baroque operas (or, indeed, George R.R. Martin), but nobody does dysfunctional families quite like the Jacobeans. The Globe’s winter season opens with John Ford’s play, written around 1630, which takes place in 17th-century Parma. Here the young scholar Giovanni is in torment. He desires his sister, the beautiful Annabella, but despite the advice of his former tutor, the Friar, he sees no way to cure his illicit passion. Annabella herself is being courted by three suitors: the swaggering Roman soldier Grimaldi; the nobleman Bergetto, who has the promise of a vast inheritance but not a brain in his head; and the handsome gentleman Soranzo, whose courteous manner masks a darker temper.

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Peter and Alice: John Logan

Peter and Alice: John Logan

★★★

(Noël Coward Theatre, London, until 1 June 2013)

One of four plays in the Michael Grandage Season at the Noël Coward Theatre, Peter and Alice was already virtually sold out in January when I booked my ticket. Last Tuesday night, I found myself in my customary spot up in the back of the balcony, opera glasses at the ready. I hadn’t read any reviews of the play (I try not to, until after I’ve made up my own mind about things) and I’d been really looking forward to it.

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