"Sex! Swords! Demons! Torture! Beards!"
by Cameron Dunham on 24/11/13

I have to admit that I was sold on the above tag line. It relates to Owle Schreame's current production of "Buffy D'Ambois": a little known, and even less performed, Jacobean Tragedy, lovingly staged at the author's burial site in Saint Giles in the Field Church. I won't spoil the story for you but, rest assured, the play delivers on all fronts!

Saint Giles is an evocative performance space but the imaginative staging will have you craning your neck in all directions: this is a 360 degree experience that places the audience at the centre of the action. In fact, don't be surprised if you find yourself sitting next to a member of the cast as the opening scene has characters emerging from most unexpected quarters...

So what of the story then? Well, it has all your favourite ingredients to make a satisfying jacobean tragedy: the flawed and doomed, eponymous hero; an Iago style Machievell; a well intentioned friar who manages to balls things up for everybody; you know the drill. But my goodness, at one hour thirty and no interval, doesn't this play move at a cracking pace? This is no doubt aided by some very imaginative direction: the summoning scene, numerous sword fights and eerie use of sound effects and music put this production significantly ahead of the pack.

In a cast as accomplished as this it seems unfair to single out anyone for particular praise however Brice Stratford deserves enormous credit for the vision of this project and delivers a commanding and charismatic performance at the play's centre.

The Cannibal Valour Season runs until halfway through December but you don't have too many chances left to see Buffy D'Ambois. With tickets costing only a fiver, don't miss this excellent play.

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