See Rufus in a dress
by Stephen Mitchell, London Evening Standard
© Associated Newspapers Ltd., 5 October 2001
Returning to the National Theatre for the first time since his appearance in Stoppard's mathematical masterpiece Arcadia in 1993, Rufus Sewell graces the expanses of the Olivier stage in Peter Gill's new production of the seldom-performed 1961 work of religious revolution by John Osborne.
Sewell steps into the cassock of the famed Protestant reformer Martin Luther, whose railing against the lavish lifestyle of the 16th century church culminated in his nailing a spiritual manifesto to the church door in Wittenberg.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, from the author of Look Back in Anger, the toils of Osborne's angry young monk are as personal as they are political. The role was originally performed by Albert Finney 40 years ago, and the portrayal of an inspirational but flawed figure caught up in an internal maelstrom of conviction, emotion and faith, should provide Sewell with plenty of substance to sink his gnashers into (and hopefully help exorcise the memory of his recent lukewarm Macbeth).
With an exceptional cast including Richard Griffiths, Timothy West and Geoffrey Hutchings and with set design by Alison Chitty, you can expect brilliant production values, but be warned — at a shade over three hours you may find that Rufus isn't the only one hammering at the doors by the curtain call.
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