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Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies extend W/E run

Ben Miles in Betrayal. Photo credit: Johan Persson.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE ROYAL Shakespeare Company’s double bill of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies has extended its West End run at the Aldwych Theatre by four weeks – until October 4, 2014.

Previously Posted: The Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, currently playing in rep in Stratford-upon-Avon, will transfer to the West End’s Aldwych Theatre for a limited run – from May 1 to September 6, 2014.

Adapted for stage by Mike Poulton from the novels by award-winning Hilary Mantel, these plays of power, passion and politics in the court of Henry VIII are directed by Jeremy Herrin and star Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell.

Wolf Hall is set in England in 1527. Henry VIII has been King for almost 20 years and is desperate for a male heir. Intent on divorce he demands that Cardinal Wolsey persuade the Pope to grant him an annulment. With every month that passes without progress the King’s anger grows. Into this volatile court enters the commoner Thomas Cromwell.

A one-time mercenary, master-politician, lawyer and doting father, he sets out to grant the King his desire whilst methodically and ruthlessly pursuing his own reforming agenda.

In Bring Up The Bodies Anne Boleyn is now Queen, her path to Henry’s side cleared by Cromwell. But Henry is still without a male heir, and the conflict with the Catholic Church has left England dangerously isolated as France and the Holy Roman Empire ominously manoeuvre for position.

When the King begins to fall in love with the seemingly plain Jane Seymour, Cromwell must negotiate an increasingly dangerous court as he charms, bullies and manipulates nobility, commoners and foreign powers.

Ben Miles’ theatre credits include Betrayal (Comedy Theatre), Measure for Measure (Almeida Theatre), Matthew Warchus’ multi award-winning production of The Norman Conquests (Old Vic and Broadway), My Child (Royal Court Theatre), Richard II (Old Vic), The Cherry Orchard, The London Cuckolds and Mary Stuart (National Theatre) and Two Gentlemen of Verona, Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet (Royal Shakespeare Company).

His many screen credits include Coupling, Lark Rise to Candleford, Freezing, Sex, The City and Me, Cold Feet, Prime Suspect, Hustle, Sea of Souls and Trial and Retribution (TV); Speed Racer, V for Vendetta, The Affair of the Necklace and The Wings of a Dove (film).

The cast for both productions also includes Lucy Briers, Lydia Leonard, Paul Jesson and Nathaniel Parker.

Jeremy Herrin’s previous productions include This House (National Theatre), David Hareʼs South Downs (Chichester and West End) and The Tempest and Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeareʼs Globe).

Mike Poulton’s acclaimed adaptations include Schiller’s Don Carlos, which starred Derek Jacobi (Sheffield Theatres and West End), and Luise Miller (Donmar Warehouse), both directed by Michael Grandage.

Produced by Playful Productions and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies are designed by Christopher Oram, with lighting by Paule Constable and David Plater, sound by Nick Powell, and music by Stephen Warbeck.

Stephen Ward continues at the Aldwych Theatre until March 29, 2014.