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The Changeling at the Globe theatre

First Published 21 January 2015, Last Updated 6 June 2018

What’s it all about?

Lust, love, passion, murder and finger removal.

After meeting the handsomely bearded Alsemero in church, Beatrice decides she must marry the dashing chap. I say marry, her eyes may well be more fixed on the bedroom than years of shared bliss and co-habitation.

As fate would have it, she’s already engaged by her father’s decree. The only way to be rid of this inconvenient fiancé? Employ the servant De Flores, who has his own secret crush on Beatrice though she openly despises him, to bump the lad off his mortal coil. Unfortunately for Beatrice – she’s not the luckiest, is she? – the payment he claims is less cash-based and more carnal. It’s not going to end well, is it?

Who’s in it?

Following her acclaimed, award-winning run in A Doll’s House, Hattie Morahan is back on the London stage and bringing lip-chewing breathiness to Beatrice. She fills the naïve youth with untouched eagerness and passion while remaining distinctly unlikeable in her scheming.

Trystan Gravelle, who’ll soon return to TV screens as Mr Selfridge’s Victor Colleano, makes a remarkable return to the Globe. He is unrecognisable as an unnervingly casual De Flores. It’s a sensationally delicious performance of a man driven though not destroyed by unrequited love, belittled but taking it all in the best humour until he holds the power and a monster is unleashed.

What should I look out for?

As ever with the beautiful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the candlelight or lack thereof brings an incomparable atmosphere to the production.

Claire van Kampen – whose own first play Farinelli And The King comes to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in February – has created a score that magnifies the tension and horror, feeling like the music of a big screen thriller but played by only four musicians.

In a nutshell?

Gravelle gets gloriously gruesome in this marvellous murderous production.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@picul Just got in from press night for #SWPChangeling @The_Globe in which Trystan Gravelle was AMAZING. GO AND SEE IT.

@WillBridges88 #SWPChangeling @The_Globe was cracking tonight! Dastardly deeds and deception all around! Complementi to the lads @_mattdoherty @jamesonjoe

Will I like it?

Lust-fuelled killing, deception, the odd splatter of the red stuff; if you like your drama grizzlier than an angry bear, this is for you. But director Dominic Dromgoole has also found as much merriment – silly, witty and dark – as gore in Middleton and Rowley’s text, making the evening as entertaining and amusing as it is dramatic.

Beware: it might put you off any impure thoughts for a day or two; there’s only one thing that happens to folk who think like that, and it’s not pleasant.

 

The Changeling plays at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe until 1 March. You can book tickets through the theatre’s website.

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