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An artful attempt to exculpate Henry VIII

“… despite a number of fine individual scenes, especially those concerning Katherine of Aragon, the play comes off mostly as an artful attempt to exculpate Henry VIII of any wrongdoing during his early reign…

The first of the three characters to fall from the height of their power is the Duke of Buckingham. Although the character has little time on stage, Tim Campbell makes him memorably brave and a fitting precedent for the greater fall of Katherine. Brad Hodder is a fine Thomas Cranmer and transforms himself from the beleaguered scholar he seems to be when we first meet him into an inspired prophet who foresees the future greatness of Princess Elizabeth. Qasim Khan plays the Bishop of Winchester as a younger, meaner Wolsey in the making and lends his character the air of scheming and menace that Beattie could not emanate as Wolsey.”