This warm and affectionate play offers a new insight into the relationship between Anne Boleyn and her brother George.
Even after hundreds of years after her execution, the story of Anne Boleyn continues to fascinate historians, playwrights and the general public and there have been many different interpretations of her story. None of which have been particularly flattering for her.
However, Joanna Carrick has decided to evaluate her life from a different perspective: through her relationship with her brother George – who she was later accused of having an incestuous relationship with. Written with great warmth and intelligence, this play explores Anne’s emotional development from an intelligent and witty young woman to a queen who gradually loses control over her life due to pressure on her ability on having a male heir.
This reading organised by the Red Rose Chain Theatre Company, who have staged a production of this play previously, actually worked really well in conveying the closeness of the brother and sister and offers a real insight into the way in which their minds worked – highlighting the fact that they were intellectual equals, something that was rare in those days.
However, there are elements of the play which perhaps lack in detail – particularly with regards to Anne’s betrothal to Henry Percy that was actually quite an important part of the build up to her relationship with Henry VIII. Everything moves at quite a pace that it can be at times difficult to get a real grip on the important situations that took place.
This aside, it does offer an interesting perspective on the way both Anne and George’s minds worked. Throughout the script, the conversation is by turns lively and intellectual, while increasingly highlighting the differences in their personality as Anne’s marriage begins to disintegrate, her inner tension exploding into viciousness, particularly as her jealousy of Princess Mary gets out of control.
This show also featured two excellent central performances that managed to capture the closeness of Anne and George. Fizz Waller is dynamic as Anne, capturing her spirit, intelligence and determination perfectly but also effortlessly shows the changes in personality and attitude as she becomes queen and becomes more demanding. It is a performance that is nicely balanced by the grounded and calmer performance from Scott Ellis as George whose affection doesn’t stop him from giving any honest advice that at times leads to division between the pair.
Overall, this is a fascinating and refreshingly different take on Anne Boleyn’s story that is well worth watching particularly if you are fascinated with Tudor history.
By Emma Clarendon
Fallen in Love is available to watch here.