Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

The History Girls: Cromwell at the Swan by Mary Hoffman

Reblogged from The History Girls: Cromwell at the Swan by Mary Hoffman.

Achieving the impossible – a review of the RSC productions of Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies

Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell and Lydia Leonard as Anne Boleyn

Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell and Lydia Leonard as Anne Boleyn

When I first heard that Ben Miles was to play Thomas Cromwell in the RSC adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, my instinctive reaction was “but he’s much too good-looking.”

I was wrong, of course. Miles has reached that point in his acting career where a piece of imaginative casting like this gives him the chance to throw off the shackles of early romantic lead swoonworthiness and show us what he’s really made of. And on the days when both plays are done he has most of six hours to do it in.

From the opening lines of Mike Poulton’s brilliant adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s two Man Booker prize-winning novels, you know you are a safe pair of hands. After a wordless prologue of Tudor dance when we first glimpse  Henry Vlll, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, the scene switches to Cardinal Wolsey’s house, where a very wet Cromwell enters.

“Cromwell. Late,” says Stephen Gardiner, Wolsey’s Secretary.

“Yes – Isn’t it?” answers Cromwell, pleasantly putting his rival firmly in his place…

Read more: The History Girls: Cromwell at the Swan by Mary Hoffman.

Hilary Mantel Photo by Francesco Guidicini
Hilary Mantel Photo by Francesco Guidicini

Ben Miles as Cromwell
Ben Miles as Cromwell

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