Wolf Hall on PBS

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Last week, after the second episode, I commented that Mark Rylance seemed too mild to be Mantel’s Cromwell. Now, after the third episode, I would like to amend my critique. What I realize that he was doing was feeling his way into the perilous world of Henry’s court, watching and gauging all the players, figuring out how to maneuver to his best advantage. This past Sunday you could see him in full command, his voice more forceful, even his physique larger. He is truly a compelling presence. It is too bad the story requires so much scene-setting in the beginning. I hope it will continue as such powerful drama.

Lois Horgan

 

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3 Responses to “Wolf Hall on PBS”

  1. You’ve almost inspired me to watch episode 2. Episode 1, I admit, was remarkably soporific. But I’d like to see Rylance rise to full power, there’s only so much watching and waiting that a poor viewer can tolerate!

  2. Having seen part one on Broadway I can equivocally endorse the television version.more atmospheric mark rylance has nailed Cromwell,his stealth,his charm,his adjustments to the situation of the moment.the stage version is just that stagy in comparison and squirm inducing long

  3. An additional comment: having now seen five episodes of the BBC Wolf Hall, I am even more enthusiastic about Mark Rylance’s Cromwell. In the latest New York Review of Books there is an excellent article comparing the tv and stage versions. The author explains it clearly — the psychological aspects of the work cannot be shown on the stage, nor can the subtle delineation of character and personality which come across so well on the screen. The stage version is reduced to being a pageant and the most intriguing aspects of the individual trying to survive in Henry’s world are lost.

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