Theatre review: The Changeling at the Young Vic
17th century play gets passionate retelling with help from Beyonce
Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s seventeenth-century play The Changeling gets a passionate retelling at the Young Vic theatre.
Under Joe Hill-Gibbens’ direction, the focus is placed on the tragic element of the play: the doomed romance between Alsemero, a nobleman, and Beatrice-Joanna, the eligible daughter of a castle governor. Their love appears to be thwarted by Beatrice-Joanna’s impending marriage to another man, until Beatrice-Joanna finds a solution that unleashes dreadful consequences.
Jessica Raine, currently starring in the BBC’s Call the Midwife, makes a spirited heroine, while her foils, the beautiful but increasingly suspicious Alsemero and the repulsive but increasingly compelling servant De Flores, are also well-judged by actors Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and Daniel Cerqueira. Their story plays out on a set that makes little reference to Spain (the play’s location), but instead uses gym mats, wheeled cages and half-finished scaffolding to convey the turmoil and confusion of the world inhabited by the characters.
At first the juxtaposition of these modern props (including music; Beyonce’s Single Ladies makes a memorable appearance) with Renaissance language jars, but as the action unfolds it begins to make more and more sense – in contrast to the accelerating loss of sanity on display by Beatrice-Joanna and her suitors. The play builds to a climax that is devastating as much as it is inevitable.
You may also want to watch:
* The Changeling is at the Young Vic in The Cut, SE1, until February 25.
- 1 'No consultation': Anger Islington cricket pitch could replace park
- 2 Police search for man who exposed himself on Islington 393 bus
- 3 'Obscene gestures and racist abuse' made at Islington Council meeting
- 4 Islington house prices rise £30k during Covid-19 pandemic year
- 5 Five times Islington has featured in films and TV series
- 6 Islington man charged with murder of shooting victim Taylor Cox
- 7 Appeal to trace missing Islington school girl, 14
- 8 Tollington Arms landlord relieved at rent moratorium extension
- 9 'LTNs are killing us': Hundreds of Highbury traders sign petition
- 10 Doubling of Covid-19 cases in Islington sparks concern