Prophecy, By SJ Parris

Zounds! An Elizabethan feast – with a surfeit of ham

Giordano Bruno is an Elizabethan secret agent and a seeker after occult knowledge charged with the task of infiltrating a ring of Catholic conspirators, as well as investigating the murder of a lady-in-waiting.

SJ Parris has done her homework and the mise en scène is convincingly rendered, but the plot is slow and the characters creak terribly, uttering information-laden explanatory speeches peppered with self-conscious Tudorisms ("Christ's blood!" etc). Their eyes flash, flicker and blaze, they avert their gaze, and gesticulate like a troupe of ham actors. Also, Parris might take the trouble to look up "laconic" in a dictionary and find out what it means.