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Citizens' Theatre

'The text so skilfully prepared by Robert David MacDonald, who is also the director, is called “a production from the play by Thomas Kyd,” and it has been slimmed down from the original. Kyd’s plot is vividly but economically expounded, the Portuguese Scenes (peripheral in any case) being the main loss.

There are eccentricities; the Viceroy of Portugal has become a weak, blind Pope, though his son Balthazar remains Prince of Portugal. Revenge, the constant companion of Andrea’s ghost, who sits throughout on top of the scaffold setting the tone of Geoff Rose’s sinister set, an all-purpose execution-chamber equally suited to courtship, diplomacy or murder, is personified as a young page, always available at court to help in the murderous plots it seethes with. […] Andrea is actually killed in battle, but Mr. MacDonald shows him stabbed as he is making love to Belimperia.

[…] Credibility is not a major factor; the chain of murders is dramatic rather than probable. Balthazar and Lorenzo kill and mutilate Horatio when they catch him in flagrante delicto with Belimperia, destined for marriage to Balthazar to cement peace between Spain and Portugal. Then, as part of the marriage ceremonies, Hieronymo entices the bride and groom to take part in a play he has written. Soliman and Perseda. Both principals in the play die – on this occasion both in drama and in truth, for Hieronymo himself plays the third part and ensures the coup de theatre he was after. Andrea’s ghost (with Horatio’s, who has joined him) is at last satisfied.’

B. A. Young, ‘The Spanish Tragedy’, Financial Times, 30 October 1978, 11


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