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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore

Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
September 16 – October 30

Author: John Ford
Director: Chris Meads
Producer: Everyman Unbound
Designer: Ashley Sharp
Cast Includes: Hugh Skinner, Matti Houghton, Nicholas Shaw, Emily Pithon, Ken Bradshaw, Eileen O’Brien, Kevin Harvey, Paul McCleary, Stuart Richman.

Running Time: 2hrs 20 mins

‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore promotional image

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website

Hugh SkinnerBalances of power; right and wrong; lust and love; jealousy and remorse; humour and melancholy all stem from just two  sources – religion and morality – and combine to make ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore very much a seventeenth century play for today.

Writing in 1633, John Ford would have doubtlessly felt compelled to complete something that did not simply rehash the works of those great writers who had recently gone before him, whilst also being aware of the anti-Catholic sentiment that was bubbling up across the land.  In fairness, and although there are similarities between ‘Tis A Pity and, say, Romeo and Juliette, the two plays are in essence polar opposites yet indicative of how times quickly change.

Shakespeare was writing when theatre was loved – revered even – whereas Ford was writing when many believed theatre was at best a sacrilegious waste of time and, at worst, heretical.

Hugh Skinner and Matti Houghton With regards to audiences who see this production of Ford’s most visited work, however, Chris Meads’ direction has not only imbued each character with  vitality, colour and depth,  it’s also provided a spectacle that is every bit as shocking and thought provoking as surely it was on the play’s original opening night.

For vim, vigour and passion look no further than Hugh Skinner’s Giovanni. For deftness and subtlety look to Matti Houghton’s Annabella,  a role which is beautifully offset by the angst of Emily Pithon’s spurned Hipolitta. For misguided loyalty and sheer ruthlessness then both Ken Bradshaw’s duplicitous Vasquez and Nicholas Shaw’s naive Soranzo will be hard to beat, whereas Eileen O’Brien’s doomed nursemaid, Putana, provides a joyous mixture of pithy wisdom and cruel torment.

A fabulous play that is written, directed and performed with real sparkle, intelligence and ultimate bravery, ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore  underlines still further what The Everyman Theatre is really all about.

Chris High

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website
www.everymanplayhouse.com


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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