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Tamburlaine 2005 - Young Genius

'I believe one reason my production of Tamburlaine became so successful was that it eschewed the normal shields-and-shouting masquerade in favour of a philosophically purer and harsher reading of the text. Greg Hicks' Tamburlaine was an existential free spirit encountering the inevitable nihilism of his own godless ambition. Marlowe, it seems to me, is captivated by this idea. An alleged atheist and anti-establishment scoundrel who was killed at the age of 29, Marlowe gravitates gleefully towards the dark libertarianism of Tamburlaine's free will. This thrilled me as a director and I wanted to pursue this vision with clarity and fervour. [...]

In our production, Tamburlaine's god does not belong to any religion, for they are all in hell. "Seek out another godhead to adore. The god that lives in heaven, if any god. For he is god alone, and none but he." The phrase "if any god" becomes key. Tamburlaine is positing what Marlowe could never have proposed at that time without literally risking his neck. He is proposing atheism.'

David Farr, 'Tamburlaine wasn't censored', The Guardian, 25 November 2005 

'There’s not a moment when Farr’s production isn’t dazzlingly clear and utterly involving — and its violent imagery has all the more impact for its economy. Tongues of flame leaping as a woman sets alight the body of the son she has just killed to save him from Tamburlaine’s hordes; vanquished rulers forced into harness and made to draw his chariot; the Koran ablaze in an oil drum as Tam burlaine defies gods and humanity. It’s disturbing, darkly beautiful and searingly brilliant.'

Sam Marlowe, 'Theatre - Tamburlaine', The Times, 11 November 2005

'Understated rather than gloriously hyperbolic, prosaic rather than poetic, this Tamburlaine deliberately rejected seducing an audience through the hubristic magnificence of its central character. Greg Hicks's hard-edged conqueror was the lean and sinewy apotheosis of the supercilious English tradesman—compellingly smart and ruthlessly confident, but frozen in his class origins, his worldwide acts of conquest never lifting him to the heights that one might imagine when in the readerly thrall of his high astounding terms. Indeed, Marlowe's mighty line was one of the first victims of Hicks's Tamburlaine, who never seemed ravished by it: symptomatic was his brilliant take on the evocative repetition of "And ride in triumph through Persepolis," which Hicks spat out as lower-class scorn for high-falutin' airs, rather than as a moment when words enrapture the imagination and trigger a chain-reaction of violent military campaigns. If this Tamburlaine was captivated by the glorious sound of it all, he was certainly not going to let that vulnerability show. As a result, Tamburlaine as his own superlative spin-doctor got short shrift in this production.'

Skip Shand, 'Tamburlaine - Review' Shakespeare Bulletin 24.2 (2006), 49-54 (full-article available electronically from Project Muse via University of Warwick Library)


Emma John, 'Man of Destiny', The Guardian, 10 October 2005  

Lyn Gardner, 'Tamburlaine', The Guardian, 15 October 2005 

Robert Gore-Langton, 'Tamburlaine, Old Vic Bristol - Review', The Independent, 24 October 2005

Sam Marlowe, 'Theatre - Tamburlaine', The Times, 11 November 2005 

James Woodall, 'Tamburlaine, Barbican Theatre, London', Finacial Times, 11 November 2005

Lizzie Loveridge, 'Tamburlaine', CurtainUp, November 2005

Dalya Alberge, 'Marlowe's Koran-burning hero is censored to avoid Muslim anger', The Times, 11 November 2005

David Farr, 'Tamburlaine wasn't censored', The Guardian, 25 November 2005 

Siobhan Keenan, 'Review of Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine. Presented at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre, October 2005', Early Modern Literary Studies 11.3 (January, 2006): 16.1-15

Kevin Quarmby, 'Review', RORD 45 (2006), 143-5

Skip Shand, 'Tamburlaine - Review' Shakespeare Bulletin 24.2 (2006), 49-54 (full-article available electronically from Project Muse - access via University of Warwick Library)