(Michael Coveney’s article appeared in the Independent, 4/29.)
"The commodification of women" is a vile phrase often bandied about in discussions of Thomas Middleton's filthy 1621 Jacobean tragedy, one of the greatest plays of the period. Women are sold, betrayed, raped and insulted but still come out, and come off, on top. Sex and death, mate, they love it. You don't have to dress this rarely seen lust-fest in modern garb to make its feminist points, but Marianne Elliott's magnificent and disturbing National Theatre revival does benefit from updating the Italian Renaissance to a period mishmash of New Look couture, dead cool jazz and punk primitivism.
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