THEATRE / Critical round-up

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'(Antony Sher and Terry Hands) bring a musty thunderer back to life. This is the Royal Shakespeare Company at its imaginative best.' Benedict Nightingale, Times

'Whether somersaulting from the theatre balcony to mutilate one of his opponents or shinning up a rope and sliding down it head-first while delivering one of the play's most elaborately enamelled speeches, you can't take your eyes off Sher.' Charles Spencer, Telegraph

'One begins to see why performances are so few and far between.' Malcolm Rutherford, Financial Times

'The main point of a visually impressive, heavily cut, three-hour evening, aside from Sher's protean display, is to prove that Marlowe's repellent monsterpiece only warrants revival if seen as a prefiguration of the madness of modern tyranny.' Michael Billington, Guardian

'Then comes the great speech forecasting his homecoming and death. Sher delivers it lyrically until he gets to the last four words - 'and meet him there' (meaning the Almighty, should he exist); at which point his voice turns to thunder and he stabs a challenging finger at the sky. There, if anywhere, the contradictions of Tamburlaine are resolved.' Irving Wardle, Independent on Sunday


'Although there is almost too much going on, with a soap-like proliferation of story-lines, there is no mistaking Roche's superb ear for dialogue.' Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph

'Mr Roche signals the impending violence a little heavily and wraps the situation up too brusquely. But he has written a remarkable, tight- knit, socially alert play.' Michael Billington, Guardian

'Roche writes with feeling but without nostalgia; his is a dry-eyed lyricism, the poetry of the everyday.' John Peter, Sunday Times