Women Beware Women at the National Theatre  – TNT theatre review

Marianne Elliott’s darkly atmospheric revival of Thomas Middleton’s 1621
tragicomedy of lust and corruption relocates this Jacobean revenge drama
from Renaissance Florence to an opulent fifties setting where newly married
Bianca is first secreted away from covetous eyes by her spouse, then seduced
by the immoral Duke who bends her to his lascivious will.

Harriet Walter is on fine scheming form as widowed Livia, a sleek,
black-gowned procuress abetted by Andrew Woodall’s devious courtier who
plans to marry off his Ward (prancing, punkish Harry Melling) to her niece,
who is herself duped into an incestuous affair with her uncle.

Moody jazz accompanies the slow revolve of Lez Brotherston’s richly
oppressive set and the final elegantly staged bloodbath seems a just reward
for all the convoluted bad behaviour that has gone before.


Olivier at the National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX (Waterloo tube)
020 7452 3000 
Currently in rep until 4 July
– £30 as part of the Travelex season 

Louise Kingsley