Festival Review: The James Plays

Festival Review: The James Plays

Award-winning, Scottish playwright, Rona Munro, has taken on the goliath task of writing three, epic plays, about James I, II and III of Scotland.

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Presented by National Theatre of Scotland/National Theatre of Great Britain/Edinburgh International Festival
Reviewed 27 February 2016

Award-winning, Scottish playwright, Rona Munro, has taken on the goliath task of writing three, epic plays, about James I, II and III of Scotland.

Taking her basic structure from classical theatre, Munro has maintained an appropriate amount of gravitas in the stories, whilst seamlessly weaving contemporary humour and broad, humanistic themes, into ultimately joyful entertainment.

Director Laurie Sansom has pulled together an outstanding ensemble, who take on various roles through the cycle. It is “Sophie’s Choice” to single out anyone, but mention must go to Daniel Cahill as James II, Andrew Still as William Douglas, Sally Reid as Meg and Blythe Duff as James III aunt, Annabella.

Set and costume design by Jon Bausor and lighting design by Philip Gladwell, provided an atmospheric back-drop, which never detracted from the actors. Neil Bettles movement direction is impeccable: battle scenes are played as movement, bordering on dance, and balletic qualities are broad to bear on various aspects of the action.

By the third instalment, energy levels had not flagged (up to this point the entire cast had been performing for almost eight hours), with the cast greeting the in-coming audience with energetic dance and jig movements.

This is a must-see.

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Twitter: @TraceyKorsten

Venue: Festival Theatre
Season: 26 February-1 March
Duration: Each play, 2 hours 30 minutes.
Bookings: Book through http://www.adelaidefestival.com.au/2016/theatre/the_james_plays_ticket_package_options
www.adelaidefestival.com.au

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