A lack of drama and a swamp of tedium – Mary review

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A three-hander with Douglas (Shetland) Henshall, Brian (Gangs Of London) Vernel and Rona Morison, it is a slow and turgid debate about the moral character of Mary Stuart that will determine her ultimate fate.

On a deadly dull set of a wood-paneled anteroom in Holyrood Palace, the trio argues at length about the merits and demerits of a Catholic Queen in a Protestant nation.

Mary’s loyal courtier James Melville (Henshall) is under pressure from conniving government jobsworth Thompson (Vernel) to sign a document that will lead to her demise, while feisty palace servant Agnes (Morison) flip-flops between the two sides.

Director Roxana Silbert can do little with the play’s inherent lack of drama in spite of spirited performances by the cast, although there is a flurry of activity towards the end that briefly awakens the senses.

But the heated exchanges and the feminist message arrive far too late to save the play from the swamp of tedium in which it is mired.

  • Mary, Hampstead Theatre until November 26 Tickets: 020 7722 9301

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