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Volpone - National Theatre, Olivier 1995


'Warchus’ production finds all the darkness of Ben Jonson’s comic vision writes Robert Gore-Langton. But the glee with which Michael Gambon’s phoney invalid Volpone and Simon Russell Beale’s superb Mosca fleece the sycophants hoping to benefit from Volpone’s will is sheer joy.' Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph, 26 August 1995

'… a Volpone that captures all the satirical exuberance of Ben Jonson while exploiting the Olivier’s theatrical resources to the full. Warchus and designer Richard Hudson’s brilliantly designed production … guarantee the play’s heartbeats of farce and horror, theatrical wizardry and moral instruction come over with powerful clarity.' Carole Woddis, Glasgow Herald, 31 July 1995

'His black wooden set spins round on the Olivier’s giant revolve to reveal heavy doorways and dark passageways. It’s a smart idea, complementing the play’s chicanery ad intricate plot twists … It also creates problems. As the characters rush around the perimeters of the set, you feel that things are happening at the periphery rather than at the heart of the play. Pace is everything, but the evening never truly takes off.' David Benedict, ‘Plenty of precious metal, not enough alchemy’, Independent on Sunday, 30 July 1995

'Russell Beale sends each word winging across the stage like poisoned darts [...]. Jonson's dark masterpiece is delivered with just the right intemperate energy.'

RH, 'Review', Sunday Times, 6 June 1995



Michael Gambon and Simon Russell Beale

in Volpone (1995)

photos  from




© Philip Carter