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Posted by : RodDungate on Jan 19, 2018 - 11:04 AM London
Edward II by Christopher Marlowe

Greenwich Theatre (short walk from Cutty Sark DLR station) until 27th January
Runs 1 hr 35, no interval

Veronica Stein, January 18th, 2018

Stylish clarity

The jarring ring of a vivid red telephone begins Lazarus Theatre Companyís Edward II, and it does so aptly: the rest of the compact piece is suitably alarming. Edward IIís first order of business upon assuming the throne after his fatherís death is to bring back his banished lover, Gaveston. His queen and his court are less than pleased, for not only is their affection leading to flights of fancy that have serious ramifications, but Gaveston is also a commoner whoís been given titles by virtue of being His Majestyís lover. So begins a precarious state of affairs as Edward II grapples between his duties and Gaveston- a state of affairs his wife and his court will not allow to continue.

The ensemble of Lords is directed and performed brilliantly. One of the strengths of this production is the lack of faff with regards to the fourth wall, the lords arenít there to speak to us and move as a crisp unit with standout performances by Jamie OíNeil and Stephen Emery as Mortimer and Lancaster respectively. Oseloka Obi as Gaveston, the Kingís banished lover, is appropriately vibrant and witty in his disruption of the court, and Timothy Blore as the King hits his stride in Edwardís most piteous moments- if the production were not so short and dependant on swiftness, they would truly shine.

Ricky Dukesís direction is stylistically exceptional and polished (no doubt bolstered by Ben Jacobsís indelicate and deliberate lighting design). That Edward II doesnít get lost in its adaptational modernity and one act running time is a feat, and that the language maintains such a strong level of clarity and pace is highly impressive. What he means to express through the story is less clear, for the Kingís petulance might unfortunately lead the audience to empathize more with his Lords than perhaps they should. Should this moral murkiness be utilized to a greater degree, the production might reach truly great heights. Though falling short in some capacity, Edward II at the Greenwich puts Lazarus Theatre Company in prime position for a bright and bold future.

Edward II: Timothy Blore
Queen Isabella: Alicia Charles
Gaveston: Oseloka Obi
Kent: Alex Zur
Mortimer: Jamie OíNeil
Mortimer Senior: Stephen Smith
Warwick: John Slade
Lancaster: Stephen Emery
Canterbury: David Clayton

Direction & Adaptation:Ricky Dukes
Assistant Director: Dinos Psychogios
Design: Sorcha Corcoran
Costume Design: Cristiano Casimiro
Lighting Design: Ben Jacobs
Sound Design: Jack Barton
Dramaturge:Sara Reimers
Graphic Designer: Will Beeston
Associate Producer: Gavin Harrington-Odedra

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