By Mark Shenton
05 Mar 2014
The double-bill, which premiered at Stratford-upon-Avon's Swan Theatre in January, where they are currently running through March 29, will be brought to the West End by producers Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis and Nick Salmon and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Tulchin Bartner and Georgia Gatti for Playful.
Directed by Jeremy Herrin, many of the RSC company will transfer to the West End, including Ben Miles as Cromwell, Nathaniel Parker as Henry VIII, Lydia Leonard as Anne Boleyn, Paul Jesson as Cardinal Wolsey and Lucy Briers as Katherine of Aragon.
The novels, which revolve around Cromwell's life in the Tudor court and his political rise to power from blacksmith's boy to Henry VIII's right-hand man, have been international best sellers, with 1.8 million copies sold in the U.K. and 1.2 million in the U.S. The adaptations were commissioned by Playful Productions, who worked in collaboration with the RSC to bring them to the stage.
In a press statement, Mantel commented, “I am, I think, currently the luckiest author in the world. When my novel 'Wolf Hall' was published in 2009, it was awarded a Man Booker prize and brought me a legion of keen readers worldwide. Its sequel, 'Bring Up the Bodies,' won a second Man Booker and the Costa prize. Could life get better? It could. Brilliantly adapted for the stage by Mike Poulton, my Tudor tales are enjoying a spectacular run in Stratford-upon-Avon. Each night, at the Swan Theatre, we have the privilege of setting our funny, fast, harrowing plays before audiences who are provoked, exhilarated and moved.
"Jeremy Herrin directs a clever, committed cast, headed by Ben Miles as the sardonic and constantly surprising Thomas Cromwell. In their glowing costumes, against a stark background, lapped by flames and falling snow, our company recreates the court of Henry VIII, its brief love affairs and brutal power games, its dances and masques, weddings and executions.
"To walk into a theatre where every seat is taken is a special experience. Now we have the chance to bring the plays to a wider audience. We are thrilled that our London base is to be the Aldwych, once the home of the RSC, a theatre that will provide a showcase for this unique project. We hope to delight our London audiences this spring as we have delighted our Stratford audiences through the winter. Meanwhile, in the pages of my third book, steadily richer and more ruthless, more ingenious and more haunted, Thomas Cromwell remains a work in progress…"