Posted by: rogerdane | 5 April 2014

55 Days by Howard Brenton

This evening I was lucky enough to get to see the Lyric Theatre Belfast Drama Studio production of ’55 Days’ by Howard Brenton.

In a spirit of full disclosure I should add that I’m a huge fan of Howard Brenton and this play is another wonderful piece of his writing that neatly encapsulates the legal, political and ethical quandries of the characters and the events leading up to the execution of Charles I.

This production is presented in traverse with simple set elements at each end which evoke the high gothic architecture of parliament and also various simpler homes. The lighting design by James McFetridge combined with wonderful sound design by Chris Warner bring the whole scene to life in a really exciting way.

Philip Crawford’s direction constantly adds interest and uses the traverse staging to great effect and he marshals his young cast so that all the set changes are carried out with a precision that doesn’t slow down the action. All the cast do creditable work but special mention should be given to Micky Kelly’s superbly arrogant King Charles I and David Craig’s devout but conflicted Oliver Cromwell.

There are two performances on Saturday 5th April 2014 and I would advise all lovers of modern theatre to get down to the Lyric and experience this production. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed and if your knowledge of the English Civil War is a little hazy you might just learn something as well.

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