Don Carlos Independent Theatre.

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Power trumps freedoms and suppresses humanity. Schiller’s play not only reflects the despotic regime of 16th century Spain but portends current
machinations in global politics. Sadly this is neither new nor fake news.

Rob Croser’s production of “Don Carlos” is impressive. His direction pays meticulous attention to detail in so many ways. The set, by Croser and David Roach is starkly grey, redolent of fear and oppression. Costume design and execution lends each character a monochromatic chess-like air as they move through Bob Weatherly’s perfectly planned and placed light and sound show. It is only the Inquisitor (David Roach), most sinister of all, who is resplendent in Cardinal crimson.

Ben Francis is excruciatingly convincing as Don Carlos, unable to think straight and at the mercy of his raw emotions. An intelligently controlled and consistent performance.

As Father Domingo, David Rapkin is furtive and duplicitous having scant regard for the seal of confession. A constant survivor in a cauldron of intrigue.

Stuart Pearce is a regal and masterful Philip of Spain, managing (almost) to evoke some sympathy from us towards the end. A fine piece of acting. Matthew Hein is the vocally resonant and faithful Count Lerma, retainer to the king.

Will Cox gives a finely tuned performance as the voice of reason and common sense but he walks a tight rope that is poorly anchored. A cleverly sculptured piece of acting indeed.

The Duke of Alba is played with deft Machiavellian touch by Keith Wilson, his subtle facial expression revealing much at times.

Madeleine Herd’s Queen Elizabeth treads lightly, carefully and with an intelligent emotional balance throughout, and Emma Bleby delivers the same level of conviction as Princess Eboli. Both complement the other so well, as do all encounters on stage in this play of words, complicity, promises and betrayal.

To say that Bronwyn Ruciak looks as if she has just stepped out of a portrait by Velazquez says it all for this exquisite production, the end product of a committed team.

The opening night audience was held in thrall throughout and at the end kept a brief concentrated silence as testimony to their total involvement before awarding an enthusiastic recognition of a fine, very talented cast.


Don Carlos
Independent Theatre
Goodwood Institute
https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=439684