“A fresh take on an overlooked gem from the past”: ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore review

’Tis Pity She’s a Whore has remained vastly overlooked since its 17th century debut. And ’tis pity indeed: the script is thought-provoking, dramatic and in some ways progressive. Following the doomed love of brother and sister Giovanni and Annabella, the play explores everything from incestuous romance to gender. 

It takes a lot to illuminate a centuries-old script, but director Jane Prinsley rises to the task. Staging it in Hive is a stroke of inspiration— the hellish and vaguely sticky venue captures a world even grimier than John Ford’s original. The 1990s rave setting also works—dancing and drug-taking compliment the drama and emotionality of the script very well, and besides, it is just fun to watch. With Shirley Manson skirts, leather dusters, and generous black eyeliner, it is pure grunge. 

Hive is not without faults as a venue. The setup of the seating means that some restricted views are inevitable. These restrictions are, however, quite minimal, because the actors make good use of the space, usually being well spread-out on the stage. The cast also deserve praise for their sheer energy: Rob Merriam’s Bergetto is enjoyable to watch (of course it is when one of his lines is “I loved her as well as I love Parmesan”), while Kirsten Miller brings fun to her character, Putana.

The main fault with the production is that its rough edges are not fully sanded down: parts of the dialogue are not completely smooth, perhaps due to relationships between characters not being fully established. Overall though, this production of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore is truly entertaining and a fresh take on an overlooked gem from the past.

‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore ran at The Hive nightclub between 9-11 February, 2020.

 

Featured image credit: Andrew Perry

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