A large cast performing a two-hundred-year-old play based on Tudor history may not sound like a promising premise for audio drama, but this L.A. Theatre Works production is a real winner: dramatic, subtle, thought-provoking, and emotionally rich. Peter Oswald's new translation of the play into forceful, fresh English invites the listener to savor the political intrigue surrounding the murderous, political maneuvering of Protestant Elizabeth I as she deals with the threat posed by her Catholic cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. The entire cast is strong, though particularly memorable are Alex Kingston, Jill Gascoine, and Martin Jarvis. The dangers of failing to grasp the nuances of royal politics are rendered especially well in the memorable final scenes.
Elizabeth I is threatened by the survival of her Catholic cousin, Mary Stuart. Wrestling with her own conscience and Mary's popularity, the Queen agonizes over the fate of her cousin amid fears for her own survival. Court intrigue has never been more gripping than in this "acute study in the art of double dealing politics" (The New York Times).
A new translation by Peter Oswald.
(P)2007 L.A. Theater Works
"Mary Stuart", adapted by Peter Oswald from the classic play by Friedrich Von Schiller; is a gripping account of the final days of the deposed Scottish Monarch.
Her captor, Queen Elizabeth, is also prisoner to Mary's fate.
Trapped between her Government and continued threats of assassination by catholic agents, Elizabeth must weigh her own survival against the unthinkable possibility of sending a blood relative and a Crowned monarch to the block.
The supporting cast is brilliant.
I would particularly like to draw the listeners attention to the conversation between Sir Aymes Paulet and Lord Burley, which is both powerful and passionate.
Alex Kingston's rendition of Queen Mary is flawless.
Her bouts with Lord Burley (Martin Jarvis) are fast, hot blooded and real. Very, very real. You are left in no doubt that here is a woman fighting for her life against an entire legal system "framed to entrap" her.
But I was more deeply touched by her sheer vulnerability, her own feelings of guilt and the dignity and composure of her last goodbye.
Whichever side you choose in this intrigue, you will not be disappointed.
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