Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Phoenix Theatre Ensemble puts on a beautiful work of political intrigue and dark drama that manages to be subtle and broad, funny and tragic, and well-staged throughout. I'm a particular fan of the heady physical rage that Craig Smith channels through his menacing Spymaster Francis Walsingham in contrast to the graceful but sharp tongue of imprisoned Queen Mary (Elise Stone, whose performance took a while to grow on me). Robert Hupp does well to keep things bleak yet hopeful in his staging of this historically entertaining play: only the final act of Glyn Maxwell's The Lifeblood is disappointing. Otherwise, this play is filled with rich villainy, scathing wits, and desperate souls.