The play sees the beautiful Annabella being pursued by a number of suitors, yet choosing the one man whose love will see them both condemned – her own brother Giovanni.
With its graphic depictions of violence and rather high body count, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore is a play which in many way fits nicely into the cannon of its time. However, its status as one of the most controversial works of English literature is cemented by the complex exploration of an incestuous relationship. Though not an uncommon topic in the drama of the seventeenth century, it is Ford’s uncomfortably nonjudgmental stance that ensures his script continues to be contentious to modern audiences.
The intimate candlelit space of the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse can only serve to enhance this play full of clandestine meetings, covert corners and mistaken identities; scenes conducted in the dark of night will be allowed their shadows and secrets in a manner impossible when using modern lighting techniques. Yet not all is designed to be hidden, and with a capacity of just 350 the blood and guts of the play will be a visceral and intense experience for all. Though if you survived Lucy Bailey's gory Titus Andronicus, you should be fine.
With a strong cast of experienced stage actors, including Max Bennett as Giovanni and Fiona Button as Annabella there's plenty of talent, though less star power for the Wanamaker's second season. Gemma Arterton’s casting for the theatre’s opening production of The Duchess of Malfi certainly drew in initial crowds beyond those simply curious for some authentic Jacobean theatre. But the Playhouse needs to stand on its own two feet with its second season and prove that this attempt at bringing new light to the classical cannon is more than simply a gimmick. ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore seems like a good place to start.
|What||‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse|
|Where||Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, 21 New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DT | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Blackfriars (underground)|
23 Oct 14 – 07 Dec 14, 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
|Website||Click here to book via The Globe|