'This modest production cut against the current tendency to find exact parallels betweent the two plots, yet it actually made the madhouse narrative more forceful [...] In effect Beatrice and Isabella were the heroines of two separate, intercut plays [...]
Lollio (Richard McCabe) [...] was a modern hospital orderly pushing a trolley stacked with sedatives that gave him absolute emotional power over the equally contemporary white-gowned patients. [He used his drugs trolley] as a vehicle and a weapon as well as a source of dreams and power. [...] Doctor Albius was not a figure of stage jealousy but a shambling, chain-smoking depressive who seemed worn down by years of overwork (which he was not avoiding), by a lazy misanthropy, and perhaps by the fact that the same actor was also playing Beatrice Joanna's father and so had good reason to worry about female fidelity.
The madhouse scenes had the stark, outraged cynicism of Howard Brenton's early plays; and the layers of deceit, counterfeiting and blackmail were revealed with cruel self-assurance by all those involved.
The production was by no means a complete success [...] However, the achievement was real: the sexuality, deformity, mutilation and murder within the "seventeenth-century" scenes seemed oddly innocent and even marginal beside the "modern" images of an anti-tragic society where the deceivers may not invariably succeed but where they never fall as low as the underclass, the madfolk.' Tony Howard, RORD, 27 (1984), 136