[REVIEW ROUNDUP] Wolf Hall / Bring Up The Bodies

The sharp tale of political manipulations and an impassioned young man’s rise to power is told in the staging of Hilary Mantel’s novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

Jeremy Herrin directs both plays, which was adapted by Mike Poulton, the gripping story of Thomas Cromwell and his humble beginning as the son of a blacksmith who eventually works his way into becoming an integral member of the royal court, comes brought to life at the West End as both plays receive its much awaited transfer to the Aldwych Theatre.

Told in two parts, beginning with Wolf Hall, the story is set in 1527 and opens with Henry VIII’s long struggle to find his successor and goal of gaining the Church’s permission for an annulment. Within this volatile political setting, Henry is introduced to a commoner, Thomas Cromwell and how he methodically rises to power.

The tale is followed up by staging of Bring Up the Bodies, where we now find Anne Boleyn as the Queen, after the Cromwell paves the way for her. Yet Henry still finds himself without an heir amid a growing political turmoil between England, France and the church. In this tale, the King finds himself falling in love with Jane Seymour, once again giving Cromwell reason to navigate through the intricacies of noble court politics.

Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies has received consistent critical acclaim. For its London productions, expect most of its original cast to be part of the London production, making it one of the ‘must see’ shows of the upcoming season.

Here’s what the critics have to say about Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies:

Mark Lawson, The Guardian: Wolf Hall/Bring Up the Bodies – a familiar tale infused with thrilling originality of storytelling.

Jane Shilling, The Telegraph: They may not capture the haunting strangeness of Hilary Mantel's novels but these adaptations are still thrilling to watch.

Ismene Brown, The Art’s Desk: Director Jeremy Herrin moves the many characters around the Aldwych’s small stage as deftly as chess pieces.

Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out: The adaptations unerringly pull out the wittiest and most important bits of each novel, making "Mantel's mass of subplots and secondary characters sing; Each play stands alone, but do yourself a favour and see both together, to journey all the way into this heart of English darkness.

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