by John Ford

Performed: Apr 2010

Artwork for Tis Pity She’s a Whore
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Roughcast Theatre Company present John Ford’s controversial Caroline era classic ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore.

In great Shakespearean tradition the play follows two star-crossed lovers who are destined not to be together. A revenge tragedy stuffed with Sex, Swords and … Siblings.

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Reviews

Eastern Daily Press, 26 April 2010

Forbidden love (incest), obsessive jealousy, teenage desire and problems endured by parents wrapped in gruesome revenge are the ingredients of the latest from RoughCast Theatre given two interesting innovations. Written about 1630, this is a post-Elizabethan/Jacobean classic, drawing heavily on Romeo and Juliet, Othello and other revenge tales. What RoughCast do is to make it relevant to a modern audience. The first big experiment is to to combine young actors from regional company The Keeper’s Daughter, with regular and older performers from RoughCast. The result is a realistic generational conflict.

Directed and produced by Mark Finbow and Emma Martin, they take convincing parts themselves. Young players Ryan Hill and Alice Mottram bring style to the doomed sibling-lovers. Danny Ridealgh and Adrian McKeogh complement the strengths of Simon Evans, Amy Gibbons, Pat Quorn and Paul Barker. The second, effective development is a traverse stage, the audience halved across a rectangular space, the action brought closer to more people. The relationships between older and younger people ring totally true, and the quality of acting prevents the savage cruelty becoming comic.

Recommended for all ages.

Diss Express/Plays international

RoughCast Theatre Company gave us, in John Ford’s 17th century play, a rare chance to see Jacobean revenge tragedy. Like the Gothic novel, the genre sprang up in an over-ripe flowering of blood-soaked dramas, with horrid laughter, a high body count and the tares of incest.

In Mark Finbow’s production, with the audience on either side of the action, the older characters are smartly suited, while the young are straight from high school. Ryan Hill and Alice Mottram, as the forbidden lovers, are as passionate as Romeo and Juliet. Most brothers and sisters would be at each other’s throats. But here it seems natural that a good-looking boy and a coltish coquette should fall in love. Adrian McKeogh (Bergetto) and Ben Willmott (Poggio) provide nerdish humour among the stabbings. Amy Gibbons, as Hippolita, masters the high-flown style of anguish, lubricious revenge and harrowing death. With actors like Pat Quorn, Paul Baker, Pat Parris and Simon Evans, as well as director Mark Finbow and producer Emma Martin, this was a cast packed with talent and experience. The production gave you an urge to see more plays of that period, like The White Devil and The Revenger’s Tragedy.

Basil Abbott