VENICE PRESERVED Citizens. Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 11 Oct 0...

Thomas Otway was a Tory author in times when to be such was considerably more exciting than it is today. His tragedy about state- sponsored death in Venice. which was first performed in 1682, is a recognised classic. Eat your heart out, Jeffrey Archer. Only a year before Venice Preserved reached the stage, 35 Catholics were killed by the English state, having been accused of plotting against the crown. It is a case of ‘a plague on both your houses‘ as Otway has the decadent Venetian senators stand in for the Whigs of 17th century England, and the plotters of the great Italian city represent the hapless English supporters of a return to a Catholic monarchy. Setting the play in a republic, Otway was able to take a pop at his political enemies and the Catholic ‘traitors‘ without having his monarchist credentials called into

the conspirators. Greg Hicks is one

of the outstanding English actors of his generation, and he plays the role of Jaffeir, the plotter whose loyalties

Never ending Tory

and. at times. uproariously comic. Victoria Scarborough and Brendan Hooper, for example, do the most tremendous comedic duet as the

courtesan Aquilina and the fabulously pervy senator Antonio. Ultimately spine-tingling, spreading itself broodingly across the

are agonisingly split, with great manoeuvre, but no cleverer than gravitas and dry wit. Simon Dutton outgoing Citz director Philip also impresses as his ill-fortuned Prowse’s brilliant production. There friend, Pierre.

are shades of Howard Barker‘s Prowse's simultaneously auditorium, this is a fittineg Victory as we delight in the loose sumptuous and austere set is powerful way for the Citizens‘ to morality of the senators and astutely matched to a superbly cast begin its Diamond Jubilee season. empathise with the earnestness of presentation which is both gothic (Mark Brown)

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Theatre Workshop. Edinburgh. Thu 9-Sat 25 Oct

Fighting for a cause