Review: The Revenger's Tragedy

By John Nathan, June 13, 2008

Olivier, National Theatre, London SE1

Although Middleton’s 1606 tragedy centres on one man who is driven to avenge his mistress’s murder, this is a play where many are out to get even. Melly Still’s modern-dress production straddles both 17th and 21st centuries with techno music and voluptuous Renaissance imagery. The revolving set reveals corridors of conspiracy and a debauched court populated with hedonists.

It is here that Rory Kinnear’s Vindice gets close to his target, the Duke, by pretending to be the oddly accented (is that Jewish East End?) Piato, the camp companion of the Duke’s decadent son Lussurioso (Elliot Cowan). Kinnear is a natural comic actor, for whom funny only seems a pregnant pause away. But it is only when his knife repeatedly plunges into the Duke’s body that the psychotic murderer within is fully revealed. It is, though, a thrillingly violent moment. (Tel: 020 7452 3000)

Last updated: 5:02pm, June 16 2008