9 May 2008

De Monfort at The Orange Tree

The Orange Tree Theatre continues to put on plays that I have never heard of, by people that I have never heard of, and staring people that I have never heard of, that delight and entertain.

De Monfort is no exception. Over a couple of hours we watch the descent of De Monfort through despair, hatred and madness towards the tragic conclusion.

This descent is slowed by the love and understanding of his revered sister and his friends. But this proves futile and they are left at the end with nothing but questions and grief.

Justin Avoth is magnificent as the despairing De Monfort and easily carries the burden of the period language, the many monologues and the constant heavy emotion. A tour de force that almost carries the play single-handedly.

The rest of the cast have much less to do, the play is called De Monfort for a reason, but generally they do what they have to do in providing the backdrop to the tragedy. The only weakness is that De Monfort's sister does little to suggest why she is so revered by everybody and so provides less of a contrast to her tragic brother than might be expected.

But don't let that one small negative put you off. It is compelling, tense drama that is well staged (as always at The Orange Tree) and well led by Justin Avoth's De Monfort.

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