7 January 2018 | bob998
John Webster saw the skull beneath the skin
You may remember the scene in Shakespeare In Love when Will sees the boy Webster playing with a dead rat in the street; he sees how Webster is going to grow up to be obsessed by sex and violence. So he proved to be, and we are the happier for it watching this production of The Duchess of Malfi. The set is wonderful--small but able to bring out all the subtleties of the text. Sian Williams did the choreography, those wonderful little jigs that we are learning were an integral part of Elizabethan stage practice.
Sean Gilder as Bosola is really the leading character in the piece. A killer with scruples and a mordant sense of humour who doesn't hesitate to castigate his employers, Ferdinand and the Cardinal. Ferdinand rages like an hysteric, while the Cardinal is all cold calculation (and very funny too). Finally we have Gemma Arterton as the Duchess. I've seen many actresses doing plays of this period: Helen Mirren (The Changeling, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night's Dream), Claire Bloom (Richard III), Maggie Smith (Othello), many more: I'd say Arterton holds her own in this company because she is so natural. I don't know if she went to RADA or not, but she has an ease on stage and can imagine what death feels like.
I'm going to look for more of the Globe productions because they look fascinating and have thought behind them instead of cheap effects that Hollywood gives us.