Directed by Brice Stratford
The Owle Schreame Theatre Company
|Courtesy of Cannibal Valour|
The Jacobean-era dialogue is fortunately reworked to modern ears by Stratford, and with a bit of effort it is possible to follow the storyline. This involves an unemployed Bussy proudly defiant in the face of his incumbent poverty, criticising the corrupted Royalty, moments before accepting to put his skilled sword at the service of cynical politician Monsieur, played by Christopher Elderwood. Trouble soon ensues, leading to an ambitious six-way sword fight that will only end lots of blood and guts later. Marvellous choreography ensures the fight is one of the highlights for audience, although the demons dancing around Behemoth (Oliver Maxwell) in a later scene were my personal favourite. The demons are summoned by an infuriated Count Montsourry (Otis Waby) to lure Bussy into a formidable trap in an act of retribution. Gore, sex and torture are among the buzzwords advertising this play and for good reason – all inside a church, which I never knew was even legal!
Chapman’s script is a vivid representation of political and moral corruption and Stratford manages to translate this into the 21st Century with an engaging and interesting adaptation. The use of space was inventive and worked well overall, but only if the audience is willingly to work a little too in following the story. The bright lighting I thought detracted from the overall experience but the choreography by Francesca Bridge-Cicic more than made up for it. Multi-talented Stratford also gives a strong performance, though felt a little woody in some scenes. Rosalyn Mitchell as the Count’s wife is passionate and impressive, and overall the cast put great effort into this unorthodox adaptation.
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Bussy d’Ambois runs in rep at the Poets Church, St-Giles-In-the-Fields until 13th December 2013.
Book online at : http://www.owleschreame.ticketsource.co.uk/