Cush Jumbo's soliloquies are deep and thoughtful, every word heard as they should be. This is the third time I recall the Young Vic choosing an excellent Hamlet but giving him a problematic production. There was Peter Brook's curtailing Adrian Lester's Hamlet to just Hamlet's lines in the play. There was Ian Rickson's setting of Martin Sheen as Hamlet in a psychiatric ward with Gertrude as a fellow patient and Claudius as the consultant psychiatrist. We walked through an installation of the back of a hospital with a dispensary before seeing the play. The last really successful, all round Hamlet I remember at the Young Vic was Paul Rhys's 1930s European royalty in 1999.
In Bring Up the Bodies we see that Henry's marriage to Anne is already in difficulties as she fails to deliver alive the longed for son. Henry, without the male heir, starts to speculate that he has been influenced by witchcraft and in this world of shifting power, Thomas Cromwell remarkably detaches himself from Anne Boleyn and survives. As he says, "Our requirements have changed and the facts must change with them." Anne loses her head after, along with a number of men, she is accused of adultery and therefore treason, although historians are largely convinced that Anne was innocent of these charges.
Concluding her trilogy which started with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel, with Ben Miles, has adapted this final part The Mirror and the Light. Ask not where Mike Poulton is, the award winning author/adaptor of so many RSC conversions from page to stage and indeed the adaptor of the first two novels. He was unavailable.