Review: The Tragedy Of Thomas Hobbes

By John Nathan, November 27, 2008

Wilton’s Music Hall, London E1

Look hard enough and there is an instructive history play here. Unfortunately it is contained within Adriano Shaplin's rambling epic which has been cut to over three hours. Yes, cut.

Two thirds of that time would have been enough to focus on the fascinating themes uncovered by Shaplin's research, the most promising of which is how scientific experiment served as entertainment in the 17th century, when Oliver Cromwell closed the theatres.

The fight between the philosopher Hobbes (Stephen Boxer) and Amanda Hadingue's rationalist Robert Boyle is interesting too.

But director Elizabeth Freestone, who, according to Shaplin, is there to balance everything he does, has indulged much more than she has challenged and ended up with a missed opportunity.

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Last updated: 10:31am, November 27 2008