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Sixth Form English Trip to The Globe

The White Devil – Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, The Globe (27 March 2017)

As Year 12 and 13 are currently grappling with John Webster’s ‘The Duchess Malfi’ as part of their English A Level, the opportunity to watch his companion play, ‘The White Devil’ was irresistible. Opened in 2014, the Sam Wanamaker playhouse allows modern audiences to watch Elizabethan and Jacobean plays in their original performance conditions – candlelit and devoid of any modern theatrical trickery. This proved to be the perfect environment for our students, who were able to see Webster’s work in its original atmosphere.

Webster’s work is well-known for its racy themes and high body count, and sure enough, this appealed to the Sixth Formers. With enough blood to rival a Quentin Tarantino film, this performance was not for the faint hearted. However, the students narrowly managed to avoid fainting and revelled in the fast-paced action and verbal jousting of Webster’s original text. Particular highlights were the Jacobean music that accompanied the action, and the Duke of Florence’s coat, which was uncannily similar to Brynley’s.

The evening ended in a whirlwind of death and destruction before students and teachers alike emerged into the misty splendour of the Thames by night, their minds filled with potential murder methods and sharpened understanding of how 17th century theatre shocked the senses.