MY advice to anyone going to see Queen Margaret is this - make sure you go with a clear head.
With more alliances than your average school playground, this fast paced theatrical history lesson by Jeannie O’Hare, with dialogue taken from Shakespeare, is sure to provide a tough test for the audience’s concentration span.
That aside, it’s well worth seeing for the charismatic and compelling Jade Anouka, who’s is in majestic form as Queen Margaret, wife of King Henry VI, who sided with the Lancastrian cause during the Wars of the Roses.
Lorraine Bruce makes a formidable Duke of York, the leading light behind bloody campaign to unseat Henry, portrayed here as weak and indecisive by a memorable Max Runham.
While O’Hare’s dialogue is highly effective and evocative and that Shakespeare chap makes a decent contribution too, there were occasions when I found it a touch overwhelming at times. I also found O’Hare’s decision to use four letter words that definitely didn’t flow from the quill of the Bard as a little gimmicky, as was the scene in which we see two of York’s sons, Edward and Richard, playing computer games.
Likewise some of the music used just simply didn’t fit the story being told.
Director Elizabeth Freestone’s production is exciting, pacy and strong on spectacle, with both cast and audience certainly deserving of a post performance drink or two.
This production also reminds how for centuries the masses have been poorly treated in this country, with references to the burden of taxation imposed on them during what was a turbulent time in our history.
* Until October 6. The box office is on 0161 833 9833. Star rating - ***