Play's Very Different; PREVIEW Anne Boleyn CRITERION THEATRE, COVENTRY

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Byline: CATHERINE VONLEDEBUR

THE Criterion's latest production challenges the traditional image of Henry VIII's wife Anne Boleyn as a seductress.

More than 20 actors are appearing in Anne Boleyn at the 120-seat Earlsdon Theatre wearing beautiful Tudor costumes - including two worn in the Hollywood film The Other Boleyn Girl.

Traditionally, Anne Boleyn was seen as a pawn manoeuvred into Henry VIII's bed by an ambitious father and his friends, or as a sexually licentious predator, even a witch.

But in Howard Brenton's drama she is shown to be witty and confident in her sexuality, as she takes on the vicious world of Tudor Court politics. She is in love with Henry - but also in love with the most dangerous ideas of her day. Director Jane Railton, from Earlsdon, Coventry, was blown away when she first saw the play at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.

The retired English teacher, who taught at Finham Park School, said: "My husband and I saw the original Globe production and thought it was amazing. …