When Christopher Marlowe wrote Doctor Faustus at the end of the 16th century, he was already drawing on German accounts of a medieval legend with eternal and universal reach. Two centuries later, the epic struggle of good and evil was translated back into German in Goethe’s towering tragedy.
Isabel Dixon of Burn Bright Theatre has dramatised Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein two hundred years after its first publication, with two women as its protagonists, Elizabeth Frankenstein and the creature, played by Danielle Winter and Elizabeth Schenk.
A deft revival in the play’s centenary year is a welcome chance to shed fresh light on Barrie’s fixation with the mismatch between the human potential and idealism represented by a child and the failed adult mess all around us.
In the shocker “can-it-possibly-be-true?” atmosphere of tabloid journalism, this theatrical account of Murdoch’s acquisition of a moribund Sun newspaper and his appointment of the angry Albert “Larry” Lamb to bring it back to life tells us the notorious press baron’s grandfather was a minister in the Scottish church.
In a capitalist society, we’re nearly all hired hands, but the extent of the exploitation is more or less pernicious. Melvyn Bragg’s gritty, Northern, sweeping tale ultimately finds the best option for the ordinary man is to accept a pittance to work above ground rather than to toil in a futile World War I trench or in a narrow coal seam beneath the sea.
Art is at its most powerfully dramatic when it gives voice to the oppressed. By using the device of a play within a play to utmost effect, The Island communicates the oppression of a recent generation by drawing on tragic defiance from classical times.
Richard III manages to be at once resounding royal propaganda and an unsettling reminder of the fragility of the status quo given Elizabeth I’s lack of an heir: the Tudors had rescued the kingdom from the murderous House of York, but they hadn’t secured the future for long.