This is a sponsored post on behalf of the National Theatre.
A visionary new version of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II opening at the National Theatre this month has us all hot under the collar. Here are five reasons why:
The real-life Edward II was rumoured to be bisexual, favouring two young men in particular who (we refuse to accept it’s a spoiler if it happened in the 14th century) both met sticky ends. Edward’s wife Isabella became so alienated, personally and politically, that she led a rebellion against him with her own lover.
2. BETTER THAN SHAKESPEARE?
Playwright Christopher Marlowe is reckoned to have been a huge influence on Shakespeare – the Bard even quotes him in As You Like It. Marlowe only completed seven plays before his murder in 1593; with political intrigue and murders like the perennial Macbeth and Hamlet, and predating Richard II’s regicidal themes by at least two years, Edward II is a perfect introduction if you’ve never seen anything by him before.
3. A POTENT THEATRICAL MIX
Think swords and jerkins combined with video projections and paparazzi – this is the National Theatre’s contemporary take on a renaissance drama. Marlowe’s magnificent verse is given a modern twist, an edgy mix of politics, sex and power that doesn’t shy from the cut-throat nature of medieval England.
4: THE (SMOKING HOT) CAST
John Heffernan takes his first leading role for the National as Edward. He was last seen being by turns comedic and spellbinding opposite Simon Russell Beale and John Simm in The Hothouse at Trafalgar Studios. His queen, Isabella, is played by Vanessa Kirby who made her TV debut in The Hour for the BBC and played Estella in its adaptation of Great Expectations. Kyle Soller, the 2011 recipient of the Evening Standard Outstanding Newcomer award, plays the king’s lover, Gaveston.
5: THE (ACE) DIRECTOR
Joe Hill-Gibbins took on The Changeling at the Young Vic and connected 21st century audiences with a twisted Jacobean tragedy – the perfect preparation for directing Marlowe’s dark, erotic and savage history play.
Edward II is at the Olivier Theatre from 28 August. Tickets £12, £24, £34. Book online or call the box office on 020 7452 3000.