Biases must be declared up front – I love watching both Seana McKenna and Lucy Peacock and would probably pay to see them read a cereal box. To see them in this play was a great pleasure. How many plays are there that have two equally strong roles for women? This one, by Friedrich Schiller, adapted by Peter Oswald, directed by Antoni Cimolino, is a wonderful vehicle for both actresses. Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor never actually met, but it is not hard to believe that if they had, this is how the meeting would have gone.
The supporting cast included Brian Dennehy as the Earl of Shrewsbury, Geraint Wynn Davies as the Earl of Leicester (the man who loved them both, or did he?) and Ben Carlson as lord Burleigh. Ian Lake had his biggest role to date as Mortimer and was definitely up to the challenge. His facial expressions alone were excellent. This cast was so strong that the small parts were filled by Peter Hutt, Dylan Trowbridge, Patricia Collins, James Blendick, Robert Persichini and Brian Tree.
The production was beautifully costumed and staged to take advantage of the Paterson theatre. Not once did the stage cause a problem:it seemed the perfect place for this magical performance. This one got a real standing ovation, not just the opening night courtesy!