For her first stage production Down Under since the hit Peter Allen bio-tuner “The Boy From Oz,” helmer Gale Edwards has turned to John Webster’s 1612 play “The White Devil.” Edwards’ adaptation of the Jacobean drama combines pacy plotting, superb per-formances, luxuriant design and a few dollops of parodic humor to cast a seductive spell that takes audiences deep into Webster’s dark world. Production is part of the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival.
Brian Thomson’s set of imposing columns and myriad passageways implies rampant intrigue and duplicity. Trudy Dalgleish’s lighting maintains a moody gloom and an air of suspense that combines brilliantly with Roger Kirk’s exotically bold and sensual costumes and Max Lambert’s and Martin Armiger’s music.
Edwards’ fantastic ensemble brings zest, depth and texture to colorful characters, with special kudos to “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” thesp Hugo Weaving and the luminous Angie Milliken as lead characters Brachiano and Vittoria. They are superbly supported by Paula Arundell as Vittoria’s feisty lady-in-waiting Zanche, Julia Blake’s Cornelia and Jeremy Sims as the scheming and often obsequious Flamineo.
This brilliant realization of a Machiavellian world of lust, power struggles, betrayal and corruption seems as relevant now as ever, especially given the seeming nonstop litany of bungles and scandals surrounding the Olympics.
Show has been invited to be part of the spring season at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music.