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Modernizing Metatheatre in the RSC's A Mad World My Masters

Eoin Price Orcid Logo

Shakespeare Bulletin, Volume: 36, Issue: 1, Pages: 131 - 139

Swansea University Author: Eoin Price Orcid Logo

DOI (Published version): 10.1353/shb.2018.0008

Abstract

This review considers Sean Foley’s RSC production of Thomas Middleton’s 1605 city comedy A Mad World, My Masters, which opened at the RSC’s Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2013 ahead of a national tour which finished two years later at the Barbican, in London. The production, based on a text...

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Published in: Shakespeare Bulletin
Published: 2018
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa39335
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Abstract: This review considers Sean Foley’s RSC production of Thomas Middleton’s 1605 city comedy A Mad World, My Masters, which opened at the RSC’s Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2013 ahead of a national tour which finished two years later at the Barbican, in London. The production, based on a text adapted by Foley and Phil Porter, transferred the action from early seventeenth-century London to Soho in 1956. In doing so, it chose to keep some of the specific, topical references to Jacobean theatre companies, but also used a number of modern, metatheatrical interpolations. Are these self-conscious updates playfully affectionate testimonies to the continued vitality of Middleton’s play, or are they indices of anxiety, attesting to the production’s distrust of Middleton’s language? This review will consider the range of interpretive possibilities opened up by several of the production’s metatheatrical moments.
Keywords: Thomas Middleton, RSC, performance history, metatheatre
College: College of Arts and Humanities
Issue: 1
Start Page: 131
End Page: 139