Theatre

Tam­burlaine

The People - - LIFESTYLE -

Swan Theatre, Strat­ford-upon-avon CHRISTO­PHER Mar­lowe’s ground-break­ing play was a hit when first seen in Tu­dor times and is still a stark re­minder of the ex­cesses of power. Charis­matic Jude Owusu is awe­some in the ti­tle role of the hero who rose from a shep­herd to an em­peror, de­feat­ing all his en­e­mies on the way. His range of emo­tions leave the au­di­ence rapt and of­ten shocked. We are taken on a global sweep of con­quests, with abat­toir quan­ti­ties of blood, where even kings are forced to pull Tam­burlaine’s char­iot. Owusu has that un­canny skill of por­tray­ing a mega­lo­ma­niac who can still re­tain a de­gree of sym­pa­thy, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the demise of his wife when his grief is over­pow­er­ingly emo­tional and her “dead-weight” re­al­ism per­turbingly au­then­tic. It is a most wel­come RSC re­turn for Michael Boyd who di­rects this must-see epic. NEIL MASUDA

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