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The Broken Heart - reviews


The Broken Heart in the press:

Extracts from reviews of Secret Centre Theatre's 2006 production of The Broken Heart at London's White Bear Theatre.

Natalie Bennett at Blogcritics, January 15, 2006

Among the standout performances, Richard Keightley manages the difficult task of being both sympathetic yet also increasingly unbalanced in the central role of Orgilus, the young man who can't come to terms with the loss of the woman he loved who was to have been his bride. Lindsay McConville as Calantha, the heir to the kingdom of Sparta, manages the final climactic scene with controlled power; Bridget Collins as Euphranea, the one woman who gets to live happily ever after, is all young, joyous, puppyish love.

Among the older generation, Kate King delivers a delightful performance as the cynical woman-of-the-world Grasius [...]  David Vale as Crotolon, Orgilus's father, is an epitome of the proud but exasperated patriarch. [...]

This is truly classic theatre as entertainment. If you've got any "Juliets" or "Romeos" in your household, you might further convert them to classic theatre with this production.

complete article available

The below review by Mary Couzens is now reproduced in full here as it is no longer available at its original location ( or anywhere else on the web in cached form.
It is presented here for historical and informational purposes, with grateful acknowledgement to its author and copyright holder, but without explicit permission.

Mary Couzens at ExtraExtra, January 2006

by John Ford
Directed by Dan Horrigan
The White Bear Theatre

The Broken Heart by John Ford, (best known for Tis a Pity She's a Whore - 1629) is about as ambitious a production as you could imagine in this small, much lauded fringe venue. Boasting a cast of seventeen able actors, this production of Ford's 1633 drama, written in verse, appropriately opens here on VE day, providing the audience with a recognisable '‘post-war' time-period, establishing, at the outset, that the themes and setting of the play (post-war victorious Sparta) are still relevant to our own lives and immediate pasts, both public - as in the phenomena of war and its aftermath, and, on an individual basis, in the realm of love and relationships. This production rather amazingly, seems to intertwine the social and emotional implications of both.

All of the players in Secret Centre Theatre's The Broken Heart take to their roles with enthusiasm and conviction, most notably, Rob Marni who does a definitive star turn as Ithocles; it would be impossible for anyone watching him to think of another actor who might play the role more convincingly. The actor manages to add a depth and flair to his performance that moves between his lines, therefore, despite any latent tendencies on the part of more conventional reviewers to harbour prejudices towards performances which transcend tradition, Marni is to be commended, for elevating an already well- acted production to an even higher level of credibility. Orna Salinger quite plausibly plays the difficult role of Ithocles' sister Penthea, who is alternately numb and mad with grief, having lost her true love through an arranged marriage, and Ithocles' lady love, Calantha, Princess of Sparta, is acted with calm dignity and beauty by Lindsay McConville, who handles her emotional scenes with moving intensity. Bridget Collins, as Euphranea, together with Prophilus, (Alexander Gatehouse), have the honour of being the token happy couple here, who face no obstacles on the road to bliss, and their joy is infectious. Rufus Graham, as the King of Sparta lends a majesty and strength to his character, which seems to imbue him with wisdom as well, as does Simon Ryerson as Armostes, uncle of Ithocles. Richard Keightley offers a credible, tempered performance as Origlus, lost love of Penthea, who struggles against the darkness within himself. And, Malcolm Brand, the husband chosen for grieving Penthea, alternately generates laughter, distain, and pity. Helen Worsley also lends a commanding presence as Tecnicus - philosopher and seer. But, it is well worth noting here, that, within the entire cast, not one actor seemed the least bit out of character in their roles, and all turn in finely tuned performances, however small their part or few their lines, as evidenced by the touchingly humanistic comic relief provided by '‘Maids of Honour' Philema (Emily Johnston) and Christalla (Melissa Woodbridge) along with Groneas (Richard Mc Stay), as the manly object of their flirtations. However, I could go on and on, until I specifically named everyone in the play, so I will honestly and, rather miraculously, conclude here, that each and every one of the actors in The Broken Heart adds their own particular note of excellence to this rare theatrical experience.

complete article
HERE [broken link].

thanks to the writers and publishers of the above linked articles.

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