Epic, unmissable, historical drama – huge television hit.
England, 1527. The court of Henry VIII is in upheaval as the King rages over his lack of a male heir. But when Henry?s anger turns to passion for the alluring Anne Boleyn, the Pope refuses to grant him an annulment from his wife, Katherine of Aragon. Into the fray steps Thomas Cromwell, a shrewd and ambitious politician, who realizes that the man who gets Anne into Henry?s bed will win the favour of the Crown. Using charm, deception and wit, Cromwell will climb the thorny ladder of power and bring the King what he most desires.
This production is proudly sponsored by Myerson Solicitors
Photographs by Vish Sharma
Altrincham Garrick Playhouse’s Wolf Hall production is a masterpiece
***** FIVE STAR Review by Julia Taylor for Sale and Altrincham Messenger *****
THE familiar characters of Elizabethan times come to life in Mike Poulton?s adaptation of Hilary Mantel?s Wolf Hall, directed by Nick Sample at the Altrincham Garrick Playhouse this week.
Overwhelmed with lust for Anne Boleyn and longing for a son, he appeals for help from the scheming Thomas Cromwell who, in return for power, gets him the divorce from Katherine of Aragon that he desires.
Henry VIII is played by a tempestuous Sean Duvall whilst Mark Butt gets into the mindset of Thomas Cromwell so well you can almost hear his scheming whispers to the King.
Mark is on stage most of the time and he gives an outstanding performance.
Cromwell remains loyal to Cardinal Wolsey (Geoff Holman), a man he respects even when the Cardinal falls from grace.
Lara Hancox?s Anne Boleyn is almost as bad as Cromwell, when she conceals a secret marriage to Harry Percy (Anthony Morris).
The King?s former wife, played exactly right by Emily Duffy, continues to call Anne ;a concubine’ and fears, rightly, for her own daughter, Mary.
The King is ruthless with those who disagree with him. In one case he shows mercy by substituting decapitation for being hung, drawn and quartered.
The costume department deserves praise for a shimmering array of costumes. Henry VIII?s is a fur endorsed masterpiece.
The Elizabethan dancing is the icing on the cake.
* Wolf Hall is at Altrincham Garrick Playhouse until November 11. For tickets telephone 0161 928 1677 or book on line. Star rating: * * * * *
*** THREE STAR Review by Rick Bowen for StageStruck ***
THE costumes in this production are stunning and richly deserving of the heartfelt applause that greeted their first appearance on Monday night.
Mike Shaw and his wardrobe team have been working their magic at this theatre for decades and their latest creations have to rank among the best I’ve seen at this theatre, the cast resplendent in their Tudor finery.
But there’s plenty more to admire in this very watchable adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novel, skilfully adapted for the stage by Mike Poulton.
Most notably Mark Butt who is never offstage as Thomas Cromwell. I also really enjoyed Geoff Holman as Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, with Geoff putting in the sort of performance tat left me asking one question – why doesn’t he do more at the Garrick?
The play is a living, breathing and completely absorbing history lesson with King Henry VIII (Sean Duvall) fighting the Catholic church to get the divorce that will allow him to marry Ann Boleyn played by an at times frighteningly feisty Lara Hancox.
At three hours including an interval this sounds like a marathon but for me the time flew. While Nick Sample’s production has one or two flaws it a fascinating tale well told. I hope potential audiences aren’t put off by the subject matter which is never dry or boring and there’s even a dash of humour to keep the audience amused.
A history lesson with jokes? Whatever next. Enjoy.
* Until November 11. The box office is on 0161 928 1677. Star rating – ***
Stephen Gardiner??? Secretary to Cardinal?Wolsey, later Bishop of Winchester??? Simon Garland
Thomas Cromwell??? An ambitious ?commoner? in Cardinal Wolsey?s household??? Mark Butt
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey??? The Lord Chancellor??? Geoff Holman
Mark?Smeaton??? His Lutenist??? Ben Hanley
Rafe Sadler??? A young gentleman – Cromwell?s ward and secretary??? Chris Wagstaff
Elizabeth?(Liz) Cromwell ??? Thomas Cromwell?s wife??? Sarat Broughton
Christophe??? A French boy and thief – Cromwell?s manservant??? Paul Butcher
Thomas More??? later Lord Chancellor??? David Baxendale
Sir Thomas Boleyn??? Anne?s father, later The Earl of Wiltshire??? Paul?Wilson
George Boleyn??? Anne?s brother, later Lord Rochford??? Sam?Hey
Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford??? Wife of George Boleyn??? Sarat Broughton
Harry Percy??? A young lord ? later Earl of Northumberland??? Anthony Morris
King?Henry VIII??? King of England for the last 20 years??? Sean Duvall
Anne Boleyn??? Lady-in-waiting to Queen Katharine – later the Queen??? Lara Hancox
Katharine of Aragon??? The Queen. Henry?s first wife??? Emily Duffy
Eustace Chapuys??? Imperial Ambassador to the court of King Henry??? Simon Garland
Gregory Cromwell??? Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Cromwell??? Oliver Knowles
The Duke of Suffolk??? Charles Brandon, the King?s friend and brother-in-law??? Jonathan Black
Thomas Wyatt??? A young poet, friend to King Henry??? Luke Robinson
The Duke of Norfolk??? Thomas Howard, England?s premier nobleman, Anne B?s uncle??? Matthew Banwell
Sir Henry Norris??? The King?s Groom of the Stool??? David Baxendale
Sir William Brereton??? A gentleman of the King?s Chamber??? Dave Richardson
Mary Boleyn??? Anne?s sister, King Henry?s mistress??? Sara Nelson
Jane Seymour??? Lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn??? Elizabeth Lomas
Archbishop William Warham??? Archbishop of Canterbury??? Geoff Holman
Thomas Cranmer??? Anne?s Chaplain ? later Archbishop of Canterbury??? Paul Wilson
Francis Weston??? One of the King?s gentlemen??? Paul Butcher
Princess Mary??? Daughter of King Henry VIII and Queen Katharine??? Elizabeth Lomas
An Ambassador??? from France??? Ben Hanley
Ensemble??? ??? Margaret Armstrong
??? ??? Holly Gibson
??? ??? Pippa Greenhalgh
??? ??? Alan?Lomas
??? ??? Ruth Metcalfe
??? ??? Scott Ransome
??? ??? Dave Richardson
??? ??? Sue Richardson
??? ??? Rose Wilson
Servants, Dancers, Lords, Ladies, Guards,?Plunderers, Attendants etc. all played by members of the Company.
This production is proudly sponsored by Myerson Solicitors
An amateur production by arrangement with NICK HERN BOOKS