Theatre Review: A Man For All Seasons

Robert Bolt’s play about Thomas More and the crisis caused by Henry VIII’s desire to divorce his Queen.

Theatre Review: A Man For All Seasons
Presented by IpSkip Productions
Reviewed 15January 2020

Robert Bolt’s play about Thomas More and the crisis caused by Henry VIII’s desire to divorce his Queen is long and wordy. It’s a complex subject dealing with famous historical characters, some of who don’t appear in a good light. This very strong cast deal with the subject matter well. On a simplistic set with minimal lighting and sound, the attention is focused on the actors. The costumes were again simple and appropriate, but with some strange additions, notably a 50’s fur stole as More’s fur collar.

James McCluskey-Garcia is well cast as Thomas More although at times I would have expected him to appear more conflicted. Tracey Korsten gives her usual fine performance as his wife Alice. As ‘the common man’ Christopher Duncan leads us through this tale of manipulation giving several fine cameos of “common’ men. Thomas Cromwell was a major player in this drama and Adrian Barnes captures his deceit and malevolence well, with Bard Martin playing the weak and easily manipulated Richard Rich convincingly.

Thorin Cupit, as the Spanish representative opposing the divorce on behalf of Queen Catherine, does well to play both sides. Meanwhile Nicholas Bishop, as King Henry VIII was not as imposing as expected, he seemed a little subdued and his hat did little to improve the regal appearance. The standout performance was Paul Briske as the Duke of Norfolk; the stage came alive when either he or Barnes was on. Both these characters appeared to generate movement in what was a very static performance.

More’s daughter was played with sensitivity by Hannah Tulip and her partner was given substance by Aled Proeve. Amanda Sharp did well as Catherine Anger capturing both the angst and the spite of the character, but appeared to be wearing the same dress as Hannah wore in her first scene (although I am assured they are different). Brian Godfrey made the most of his moment as Cardinal Wolsley resplendent in red. Andre Chaney played the small but necessary part of Thomas Cranmer. Such a strong cast were capable of more but seemed to lack purpose at times. Maybe the director, Nathan Quadrio, could have done more.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: Bakehouse Theatre
Season: 15 – 18 Jan 2020
Duration: 2.5 hr
Tickets: $20

Disclaimer: Brian Godfrey is the Arts Editor for Glam Adelaide. Adrian Barnes and Tracey Korsten are reviewers for Glam Adelaide.

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