But asides aside, this sprightly and sinister production reinvigorates the play by stripping it down its core and neatly conveying the harmful consequences of sexual obsession. The acting is uneven but, on the whole, the small cast do their best to overcome some of the fussy stage directions. Fiona Hampton’s Beatrice-Joanna and David Caves’ De Flores stand out in this production. Hampton gives us a sizzling Beatrice-Joanna, skillfully displaying impulsiveness leading to manipulation and vulnerability at the end. Cave gives us a foreboding De Flores with chilling stalker-like tendencies. The contemporary stage design with closed circuit television underscores Caves’ creepy De Flores. The scenes involving both characters together illustrate the violent imagery of the play effectively. Sophie Cosson who plays Beatrice’s waiting lady, Diaphanta, has a small part but she gives us an an intriguing character.
By coincidence, I came across this Guardian Theatre Blog ‘What makes a good stage death?’ before I went to see The Changeling. We witness four murders on stage but, to paraphrase Oakley, I shall leave it to you to judge if they are all ‘good stage deaths’.
This review is based on a performance I saw during preview week. At the time of writing, performance running time was 80 minutes with no interval. Press night is on 7 November. The Changeling is on until 26 November. For tickets, contact the box office.