I just witnessed an excellent production of Mary Stuart staged by The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Written by Friedrich Schiller and adapted & directed for the school by Ben Naylor, the performance told the story of the last days of Mary Stuart before her head was departed from her body on the orders of her cousin Queen Elizabeth 1st.
The story was told and acted in such an entertaining way that the two-hour performance flew by, it seemed like ten minutes.
The set was really eye-catching and very workable. I sat at the back of the auditorium but was drawn in to the set, I may just as well have been sat on it, the mood was set so well.
The acting was precise and so feasible that I really believed that ‘Mary Stuart’ (played faultlessly and with real conviction by Aamira Challenger) was really going to meet the executioner and was hoping that Queen Elizabeth 1 (Katherine Bubbear) would remove the death sentence. As we all know she didn’t and at just 24 years of age ‘Mary Stuart’ was beheaded.
Despite the dark sombre storyline which we all know to be a historic fact, the cast managed to inject humour into the tale, I particularly like the very comical cameo role played by Danny Hetherington as a royal guard.
Hats off to The Royal School of Speech and Drama for staging a 5 star production, I can’t wait for the next one.
Review by Johnny Tait
The production is of Mary Stuart by Friedrich Schiller, has been Adapted & Directed by Ben Naylor, and was performed by MA Acting Classical Students from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Performances run from Wednesday 27 July – Saturday 30 July at 7pm at Central (Embassy Theatre, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, London NW3 3HY). An additional matinee performance at 2pm on Saturday 30 July 2016.
Mary Stuart at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (Trailer)
Sir Amyas PAULET, Mary’s jailer – Matthew Duckett
Hannah KENNEDY, Mary’s gentlewoman – Rebecca Banatvala
Drugeon DRURY, Paulet’s assistant – Danny Hetherington
Margaret CURL, Mary’s gentlewoman – Lauren Dickenson
ROSAMUND, Mary’s maid – Abigail Arnold-Ochs
MARY Stuart, former Queen of Scotland and France, a prisoner – Aamira Challenger
Edward MORTIMER, Paulet’s nephew – Lyle Fulton
William Cecil, Lord BURLEIGH, Lord Treasurer – Tom Macqueen
Sir William DAVISON, Secretary of State – Rowan Williams
Henry Grey, Earl of KENT, Lord Steward – Michael Skellern
Queen ELIZABETH of England – Katharine Bubbear
Robert Dudley, Earl of LEICESTER, Master of the Horse and Elizabeth’s companion – Luciano Dodero
George Talbot, Earl of SHREWSBURY, Earl Marshal – Chris Kyriacou
Count AUBESPINE, French Ambassador – Nigel Langley
Count BELLIEVRE, Envoy from the Duke of Anjou – Danny Hetherington
O’KELLY, a Catholic militant – Nigel Langley
Sir Andrew MELVILLE, Mary’s former steward – Jack Mosedale
OFFICER of Elizabeth’s royal guard – Danny Hetherington
Scenic Artist – Jonny Brown
Scenic Artist – Zowie Wise
Scenic Constructor – John Venier
Wardrobe MAster – Craig Hall
Venue – Embassy Theatre at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Performed by MA Acting Classical students
Politics, faith and principle collide in Schiller’s extraordinary 1800 tragedy, which pits Elizabeth I against her imprisoned rival and cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. This intense and subtle psycho-drama, with Shakespearean overtones, is without doubt one of the great classics of German, and indeed European, theatre.