Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The More the Merrier for Sainted Thomas

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The More the Merrier for Sainted Thomas

Article excerpt

Byline: KIERON QUIRKE

THEATRE RSC/Thomas More Trafalgar Studios 1

TWO plays about Thomas More by six different writers currently grace our city. This one, co-written in 1592 and only now getting a major production, accounts for five of those scribes, so no surprise that it's a patchy affair.

Yet an energetic production from the RSC and a magnetic central performance at least partially mask its flaws.

The play canters through the career of the saint, mulching history as it goes. By quelling a Commons revolt, More ascends from sheriff to Lord Chancellor in a single day. His opposition to Henry VIII is summarised as a single refusal to sign a list of unspecified "articles".

Shakespeare had a hand in the writing, and if the scholars have got it right, his bit is the best. More's speech to the plebs, in turmoil over lax immigration, is a simply expressed plea for tolerance that is beautiful and resonant.

In fact, the first-half riots see this production at its most confident. …

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