A Man for All Seasons
Paul Johnson | 08 Apr 2012 04:56am
I had never seen the film or play, A Man For All Seasons before but knew the story of Sir Thomas More and his refusal to annul King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Under the direction of Jean Cooper, Loughton Amateur Dramatic Society did a wonderful job of portraying Robert Bolt’s award winning play.
This historical drama focussed on Tudor England and essentially portrayed the life, trial and ultimate execution of Thomas More. Andrew Rogers, as Thomas More, was superb throughout. This was a very demanding role, especially as he was on stage for most of the play, but he gave a sensitive performance. His breakdown in front of his family as they plead with him not to take a moral stance was very moving, and the wit and humour of the character shone through, especially in some of his exchanges with his friend Norfolk,a fine performanceby Jon Gilbert. Taylor Keegan conveyed More’s beloved daughter Margaret with an equal balance of strong will and compassion. Karen Rogers as his disgruntled wife, Lady Alice gave a credible performance. Iain Howland as the Common Man showed his versatility as he played a number of characters including the innkeeper, boatman jury member and the executioner. His wry humour and monologues drew the audience into the story. I noted that although More never changed with the seasons the common man did as the play progressed. Howard Platt’s portrayal of Thomas Cromwell was splendidly sinister and Machiavellian attimes as he engineered More’s downfall and the corruption of Rich. As well as the fall of Lord Chancellor Thomas More the play focussed on the rise to power of Richard Rich, well played by Dan Cooper. This was noticeable in the coats and clothes worn by both men, Rich admiring More’s ornate gown at the beginning finishes the play in much finer robes whilst More’s are noticeably shabby. David Stelfox played the younger King, Henry VIII, with the right amount of wilful childish temperament and cheerfulness. Amongst other superb performances by this excellent cast Roger Barker as Cardinal Wolsey deserves a mention. The wardrobe team ensured that the wonderful costumes did the play justice, giving an authentic feeling of time and place. The set design was impressive. I particularly liked the way the fact that Jean Cooper had directed her cast to make good use of the space and different levels – the stage was never crowded. The Common Man, Iain Howland, in his many guises, moved props and furniture around seamlessly so the pace was maintained. Although a lengthy play on paper, it didn’t feel like it. I found this production very moving and the cast are to be congratulated for a wonderful portrayal of this historic drama.
- : admin
- : 29/03/2012